For most people Father’s Day is made of sugary sweetness; of crayon-adorned cards and handmade gifts, of close embraces and tender words, ugly ties and lazy lunches and unapologetic kisses.
For most people it is celebration and affection and gratitude overflowing.
For most people it is their heart’s warmly-welcomed house guest.
But you are not most people.
For you Father’s Day is a fresh bleeding; the reopening of a persistent wound. It is an unwanted, uninvited rude yearly reminder of something beautiful you had and lost, or of a long-kindled dream that finally died for good.
It is a cruel calendar intrusion of regret and grieving and anguish—and it’s hard as hell.
I want you to know that someone understands.
I want you to know that I see your deeply buried hurt, the nagging pain you keep so well hidden, the steady stream of tears you wipe way in secret.
And I want to give you permission to feel it all today; every bit of scalding anger, every fist-slamming moment of heavy sadness; the full, crushing weight of all the loss—and I don’t want you to apologize for any of it.
There is nothing to be sorry for. You have earned the right to let the furious flood of emotion come without holding it back.
Let all of it out until there is nothing turbulent left, until the heavy sobbing ceases and you can finally breathe again.
And then, in that place where you feel too spent to move, let me give you something else; a gift that you freely receive without any shame or hesitation.
Let me give you whatever it is that you need this Father’s Day, that thing your soul most seeks.
May these words be for you, the call that hasn’t come yet or that one last hug you can’t have or the kind words you never received or the returning prodigal that remains out of sight.
For one brief second, feel lightness and rest and hope again.
But know too, that even your suffering is cause for gratitude. There is something to celebrate even in the sadness itself.
Your tears are a beautiful tribute to the ones you’ve lost; this pain, the measure of a heart that works as it is designed to; your grief, a heavy tax on loving so very well.
Even in the great difficulty of this day, let these things be stable ground beneath your feet as you begin walking again.
I realize that Father’s Day is not for you what it is for most people, but perhaps these words will make this one a little easier, a little less painful.
In some small way, may it recover and redeem this space in the calendar for you.
Today as any day, be greatly encouraged.