I’m eternally grateful for the many fathers in my life.
First of course, was my own father.
A funny man. A brilliant man. A well respected man.
But the man I knew as a child seemed to slowly disappear as I grew older, and I missed the man he’d been before.
As my father slowly pulled further and further from the church, he also pulled further and further from his family until finally, he pulled away completely and left. The relationship that ensued afterwards was a strained and distant one.
Despite the pain from having essentially lost my father seventeen years before he actually passed away, I am so grateful for the many wonderful memories I have from my childhood and the things I learned from him.
My father gave me his love for music. The singing, the piano playing, the love of harmony, the appreciation for a great melody and a great bass line. That’s my father in me.
My father taught me how to look criticism in the eye. He taught me how to respond to the teasing of a bully, how to NOT be a victim. I know how to stand up for myself and speak for myself, and I owe that to my father.
There are many things I could list. It’s enough to say that before he lost his way, my father was a good father. And despite his faults and weaknesses, especially when it came to issues of faith, my father certainly fulfilled his role as protector and provider. He led a long and distinguished military career which provided his family with a wonderful life. I honor him for all the good he did do.
Second, an inspired Bishop.
Without a father that I could talk to about things of the heart and spirit, the father of my ward took on that roll. When I was about to make the mistake of a lifetime by marrying “the wrong man”, it was my Bishop who was the one person who had the nerve to say it to my face. He said it sweetly. He said it as tenderly as he could, with my hands in his. But he said it firmly and with a conviction that could only come through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. It was hard to hear, but I needed to hear it. And I knew he was right. I honor him for his righteous courage; for loving me enough to tell me the truth.
Third, a faithful home teacher.
Again, a priesthood holder with a true love for those he was called to serve, stepped up to the plate to help a mother and her children who no longer had a father in the home. This good man and his wife took my family in when we had no where to go. He gave me and my brothers our first ‘”Father’s blessings”. He ordained one of my brothers to the priesthood. He ordained my then boyfriend, and later served as his escort when we went to the temple for our endowments and were married. He stood in the circle when my husband blessed our first baby. He was as much of a father to our family as he could be, and I honor him for his love, his example and his faithfulness.
Fourth, my husband and the father of our children.
After my experience of growing up in a home without priesthood leadership, without a father who could baptize his children, give them blessings when they were sick, who wouldn’t lead them in family scirpture study and prayer, who didn’t have a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, a living prophet and the Book of Mormon, there was no way I was going to live the rest of my life without it. I couldn’t change what had been up until then, but I was determined to change everything after it. My future children would have what I didn’t.
My husband is everything good about my father, and everything good that my father could have been. He’s a funny man. A brilliant man. A well respected man. He devoutly serves as protector and provider for his family. More importantly, he’s a faithful priesthood holder who has a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, a living prophet and The Book of Mormon. He worthily blessed our babies. He baptized them and gives them father’s blessings and blessings of healing. Each night he leads our family in scripture study and family prayer. He ordained our son, and will escort him through the temple one day.
He plays with his children. This afternoon, as he and our son plus half the boys in our neighborhood were running through the house, hiding behind walls, couches and opened closet doors, shooting each other with Nerf guns, I was tempted to ask them to do it outside, but I stopped myself. Nothing that could be broken was irreplaceable.
Those moments however, are irreplaceable. Watching all these boys who aren’t even all ours, but who look up to my husband like a father, and seeing them all having fun together within the walls of our home, that’s irreplaceable.
I honor him for his faithfulness; for his love, his leadership and strength and for the priesthood he worthily bears and with which he blesses and serves others. He’s a wonderful father, a faithful husband, and I love him with all my heart.
Lastly, my Father in Heaven.
So far yet so close. Even if all these other men had never been in my life, my Father in Heaven was always there. He’s still there.
I honor Him for His marvelous plan of happiness; for His unfailing love and mercy in sending His Son, Jesus Christ to light the way for me to return home to His loving arms; for hearing and answering the prayers of His daughter.
On this Father’s Day I give Him thanks and praise, for I know that it’s only through His hand that I have had all these wonderful fathers in my life.
Happy Father’s Day to all of them.
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