Monday, June 1, 2009


Here it is again, just around the corner—Father’s Day…the day we celebrate our fathers and thank them for their contribution(s) in our lives.
But what if my father was not the ideal dad, as the one in Father’s Knows Best, Bill Cosby Show, or Leave It to Beaver? What if my father was one with muddied feet…or worse?

My father died from lung cancer in 2004 while i was in Fiji. i got back in time for his burial and was allowed to speak, where i tried to make peace between my Mom (the “old” wife) and the current wife (the “new” wife). Tensions ran high as their feelings got in the way. i was told that i gave a stirring speech, but it didn’t really make much difference between the warring parties.

How do i remember my father? Not with much emotion…though with some regret that i didn’t get to know him better. i was born in the Philippines, and for nearly 10 years, saw my father but once or twice a year (as he was in the US Navy, only coming home to visit during WestPac trips). When he came home, he was like an uncle, with presents and parties…but i felt shy with him. He didn’t feel like a Dad.

After we immigrated to the States, my father still felt like an uncle…he was with us physically, but as a Dad, he was emotionally elsewhere. My father provided for our material needs, but our emotional needs were unmet. To me, my father was a stranger, not a Dad at all.

My parents had many issues that negatively impacted us three children. My brother is still a little warped from their cold and sterile relationship. How would you like it if you were the only son in the family, yet your father treated you like a bastard, as if you weren’t even his son?

For the most part, my father failed at being a Dad. But he got a second chance at being a better father to my half-sister when he and Mom got divorced in their mid-60s. It was strange having a little sister when i was already in my 40s! But i was glad that my father got that second chance at fatherhood. i was neutral in the subsequent family relationship—i wasn’t emotionally attached to my father and was able to socialize with the new family.

If there’s any real regret at my father’s absence, it’s that i’m not sure whether my witness to him about CHRIST as the way to Heaven led to his salvation. From Mom’s account, he did repent of the wrongs that caused her so much pain and asked for her forgiveness as he laid suffering on his hospital deathbed. He gifted my Mom with that peace offering…and i’m very grateful for that.

Today i remember my father with just a touch of sadness…he must have been very unhappy to have lived that double life. i have forgiven him for everything…even that he also “divorced” us kids when he divorced Mom.

i am grateful that my father was “Dad enough” in that he didn’t leave us in the Philippines to live in near poverty. He did not abuse us sexually nor hit us nor was a drunk nor a drug addict. He provided us with shelter, food and clothing. He was Dad enough!

My real father is my FATHER in heaven. He is more than enough! He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He gives me peace that surpasses all understanding. He causes everything to work together for my good because He knows i love Him. He satisfies my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like an eagle’s. He upholds me with His mighty right hand. He is ever patient, merciful and gracious with me. He forgives me when i confess my wrongs and He doesn’t hold grudges. As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed my sins.

He loves me just the way i am…imperfect and sharp around the edges, but trusting and resting in Him alone. With Him in my corner, what have i to fear?

So on Father’s Day, i remember my father with calm acceptance of all that was and i celebrate and honor my FATHER for all that He is!

Happy FATHER’s Day, INDEED!!!

1 comment:

  1. The Church service on memorial day pointed out that it falls between Mothers and Fathers day. I have been planning to bring this up in an article for the Jeremiah Films site on father day.