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Redeeming Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, and this theme was eloquently addressed in the church sermon this morning, after all the dads, granddads, and great-granddads were acknowledged and applauded.

Absolutely perfect nuclear family. I bet all his kids, and his wife, got him cards and gifts; and made him a pot roast to boot.

Father’s Day always leaves me a bit bemused, because I am supposed to get a card for my husband, but – news flash – he is NOT my father. My dad has been gone fifteen years, so I no longer partipate in the loving, dutiful daughter ritual of buying a card and a gift and making the obligatory phone call. Now I participate in the loving, dutiful mother and grandmother scenario of receiving the cards and gifts and the obligatory phone call. Different stage of life.

My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to stifle snorts and giggles of amusement as this morning’s speaker shared an interesting anecdote about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ. He offered the suggestion that we might actually appear, hand-in-hand, through shadowy mist and mutual, delighted smiles before Christ in family groups. Took me about thirty seconds to visualize this, overlay the visual on my personal life experience, and glance at my husband, who had apparently arrived at the same conclusion.

“I wonder if the speaker realizes that probably over 50% of us have been divorced at least once, and that a nuclear family unit skipping hand-in-hand before the judgment seat may be – a thing of the past – ?” I whispered.

My husband nods. “Yeah, I was thinking in our case it would probably be a crowd of around 100 people.”

Overcome by laughter immediately; we attempted to keep the mirth under wraps, but our red faces and tears streaking down our cheeks gave us away. We whispered to each through huge grins that perhaps this speaker might be out of touch a little.

Forget listening to the rest of the message. All I could think about was skipping merrily through the mist, toward a towering, white, marble podium (angelic guards on each side in white robes adorned with lovely sashes, possibly flanked by greyhounds) and gazing up at the King of Kings (who, in my imagination somehow carries a gavel – beautifully carved, all wood – dark wood, probably mahogany…with 18-karat gold inserts); holding hands with family and step-families past and present. We all stand in a frothy, cloud-like fog up to our knees. The Lord looks confused. (This is crap, of course, the Lord could never be confused. This was just a teensy-weensy imagination fart.)

My husband has been divorced once, and I have been divorced @@%%%&!!!? times (I feel a lady should never announce how many times she has been divorced), but between our kids and stepkids and grandkids, plus ex-spouses; we could probably bring an entire town before the judgment seat of Christ.

Blended families on Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day, for that matter) experience the bittersweet irony of what might have been juxtaposed beside what is to be. It is a sad reality that over half of Americans in the United States have experienced divorce. What are the kids supposed to do on these holidays? Card and phone call to both parent and step-parent? Who gets a gift? Does everybody get a gift? How to alleviate the  sadness  the holiday creates in the hearts of parents, step-parents, and kids?

What a mess. Complicated.

Depressing state of affairs.

However, this morning, the speaker completely redeemed this blended family’s Father’s Day. Actually made us laugh so hard we nearly disrupted the service.

Best Father’s Day we’ve had in a long time.


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