This morning, early, I updated my status on Facebook as follows: "If I never have children, I can live with that just fine...but one of my regrets about it will be that I never got the chance to love someone so unconditionally just because it was a 'reflex,' almost, to do so. I think I would understand God's love much better with that experience. However, on the other hand, because God's love IS like that, I understand the Scriptures that assure us He is the Father of the fatherless. God's love is so beautiful." It struck me after the fact that it was an appropriate posting for Father's Day.
At the end of my Quick Takes post on Friday, I included a couple videos of the song "All My Tears." One of the lines in it says, "...I will not be ashamed, for my Savior knows my name." The old TV show Cheers had a themesong, "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name...and they're always glad you came." The country group Alabama has an old song called "Down Home...where they know you by name and treat you like family."
Where I work, I conduct a census each night of the residents on campus. I call five of the other six cottages and get their head count, and find out who is on pass, etc. I have worked in the other cottages enough that despite frequent changeover, I know a lot of the kids by name. Also, when a coworker answers the phone, I know who it is because I recognize their voice.
We all have a longing to belong...to know and be known. We need family. Some of us have not been fortunate enough to have families with whom we have amicable relationships...some of us don't belong. Too many of us know the pain of isolation...the double standard of people who claim to love openly and unconditionally, but when it comes down to it, they always choose their "own" when they have to choose between people. And quite frankly, it sucks being alone like that.
But that is one of the things I find most wonderful about the Christian message. God doesn't just want us to be His servants, nor even merely His friends. He desires to embrace us as His own children. He sets the solitary in families and truly is a Father to the fatherless.
Psalm 68:5, 6 says,
"A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely..." (NIV).
There have been times in my life when I felt more at home in the family of God than with those to whom I was related by blood. There have been times my Church family have been my only family, and so many times when they were my lifeline. And even when the Church has failed me, because it is comprised of imperfect humans who have human limitations, God's love has sustained me in my loneliest hours (not that those hours are ever easy, don't get me wrong).
My dad is no longer alive. But this Father's Day I am not fatherless. I have a wonderful Paternal relationship that is definitely worth celebrating!