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Monday, December 28, 2020

Happy Birthday, Dad

 I find as the time passes that it is more important each year to celebrate my Dad's birthday. I don't want to commemorate the day he died--I certainly remember the day, but not the date--because God is the God of the living, not the dead. There must be some golden mean between ignoring death completely, and giving it too much credit.

You know, there is a powerful benefit in losing your Dad when you are small. A boy is not a young man yet, who thinks he knows everything, and that his Dad is a fool. There aren't too many benefits to this whole thing, but I do cherish that one. There are some men of course who grow into adulthood and maturity, and they realize that they in fact were the fool, and they can be adults and friends, as well as fathers and sons. That is beautiful, and I celebrate that when I see it, giving profound thanks to God.

We should also celebrate those men who step in to be father figures for other people's sons and daughters, because I am all too aware that sometimes biological fathers fail horribly as fathers, and then the rest of the community has to try to pick up the pieces. St. Joseph, pray for us!

I'm thankful for my Dad's life, because he gave me life. And if we are fortunate enough that our fathers have done something praiseworthy--maybe a lot of things--then we have all the much more to be thankful for. Let us start from thankfulness, if we can. If we cannot, we should pray for that kind of vision. God can sort out the blameworthy things, and surely sentiment cannot erase them, but it also does not serve us to be consumed with bitterness. We can have clear vision, based on truth, but bitterness is anger that consumes.

And so, I want to thank all the great Dads out there. It's not easy to be a Dad, in the good ways that matter, especially not now.