Is it possible to overstate the importance of a father?
My father is 85 and finally showing his age as he copes with failing physical and mental abilities. Old age is not for the faint-hearted. Living overseas means that I cannot be with him as much as I would like but I think of him every day and increasingly reflect on the profound influence he’s had on my life. I praise God for his life of hard work, integrity, constancy and discipline which is his example for me to follow.
Even more so given the fact that I am newly returned from a fourth mission trip to Romania where I led a building team to help the Roma gypsies living in (literally) the trash belt outside Cluj-Napoca. (How a European country can allow its inhabitants to subsist in this way beggars belief.) One of the many challenges the Roma face, is delinquent husbands who leave their families to fend for themselves, often with teenage mothers as the head. The loss of the father makes families’ lives doubly difficult and leaves its members vulnerable to abuse and entrapment in a vicious cycle of poverty without an obvious means of escape. These absent fathers are also a profound influence but in a negative way.
Fathers can, of course, be physically present in the home but mentally absent (see this article in the FT (07/10/14) for a moving account of a father who realised this before it was too late.)
Thanking Our Father for our fathers.
“A father to the fatherless…is God in his holy dwelling”