A young father-to-be was pacing back and forth, wringing his hands in the hospital corridor while his wife was in labor. His stomach was tied up in knots of fear and anxiety. Beads of perspiration were dripping from his brow.
Finally at 4:00 AM a nurse popped out of the delivery room and announced, “Congratulations, Sir! You now have a beautiful little daughter!” He dropped his hands and became limp as he blurted out: “Oh, thank God, it’s a girl! She’ll never have to go through the agony I’ve had to go through tonight!”
MYOPIC!! This father surely suffered from myopia – nearsightedness. Didn’t he have the slightest idea of what his wife was going through in labor?
Don’t we all suffer from myopia until we change our location? When we visit or are a patient in a hospital or a nursing home we often say: “Boy I didn’t have it so bad after all, compared to some of the other people around me.”
I know I suffer from myopia every time I go to Haiti and visit the materially poor who only earn a dollar or two a day. I realize that a third of the people on earth are in a similar situation.
On this Father’s Day we realize that fathers too continually struggle with myopia – to see more and to be more for the sake of their children and their family.
Jeremiah the prophet in our first reading today (Jeremiah 20:10-13), certainly didn’t suffer from myopia. He sees that the Lord is with him like a mighty champion. Whatever he has to face and overcome, he will, because God will clear a path for him. God will make it happen.
One father had his doubts about how he was doing as a father. His own dad was mostly a shadow in his life growing up. His father worked long hours and everybody thought he was a great guy. But he was never home. So the son, who was now a father himself, wanted to be closer to his children, but he wasn’t always sure how to make this happen.
One evening when his wife was away, he had to put his five-year old son to bed. He was about to lift him into bed when the child said, “But Daddy, I have to say my prayers.” He knelt down beside his bed and prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” And then he added, “Dear God, make me a great, big, good man, like my Daddy, Amen.”
Within a few minutes the boy was in bed and asleep. The father then knelt down next to his son and prayed, “Dear Lord, make me a great, big, good man, like my boy thinks I am.”
Prayers like that will always be answered. Prayers like that help us to be more and more like God. Look at how well God knows us and loves us. Jesus says in today’s Gospel that the very hairs on our head are counted by God (Matthew 10:26-31). Did you know that when we start out in life, blonds have 145,000 hairs on their head, dark-haired people have 120,000 hairs and red heads have 90,000 hairs on their head.
Throughout our lifetime, most of us will lose a lot of those hairs, but God is still counting them and God is still counting on us.
A Happy and a Blessed Father’s Day to all Dads, Step-Dads, Grand Dads and all the other Special Men in our life who have helped us to be the persons we are today.
Please offer a special prayer for your Father, whether he is living or deceased….and all the other Special Men in your life.