Yesterday I wrote about not letting the moment pass to hug our children and let them know how much we love them. One man reminded me that love and reconciliation need to go "up" as well as "down."
My dad grew up without a father, so had to guess at how to father me. Two things we didn't do very well were to hug or say, “I love you.” Our family fell apart when I was in high school. Long story, but I quit high school and joined the Army. Then in my early 30s I began to long for a relationship with my dad. We started having lunch on his birthday.
One year as we were leaving the restaurant I said, “Dad, can I give you a hug?” The words were barely out of my mouth when he reached out and squeezed me tighter than a grizzly bear! He let out a deep, primordial groan. “Mmmmmmmm. . . .” All I could think of was the deeply buried pain of not having a father of his own to mimic, who tussled his hair, who instructed him about the ways of life.
At the end of thirty long seconds, warm, salty tears rolled down both our cheeks. I said, “I love you, Dad.” He said, “I love you, too,” and then we left, souls cleansed.
Frankly, I’m not sure how to explain what happened in those precious moments. A century of sorrows boiled to the surface in one brief instant. The intangible pain of what could have been melted away. The gracious hand of God broke down a wall. That single moment became a turning point in our family. Ever since we have become a family of huggers and lovers.
Honestly, I don't know what would happen if you tried something similar with your dad – or if it's even possible, or necessary. But if you and your dad are not in right relationship, wouldn't it be worth it if you tried and it worked out?
If you’re not in right relationship with your dad, don't let another day pass without connecting – even if it's talking to a gravestone or a mental picture of the father you never knew.
Until every church disciples every man…