Father's Day by Blake Scozzaro
The last conversation with my dad was on Father’s Day when I was a senior in high school. Nothing prepares you for the abandonment you feel from someone who is supposed to love you and train you to face the challenges of this world. Additionally, the relationship with my step-father left me feeling like I could never measure up. But then, the one man I trusted, my grandfather, eventually left us too.
Every man in my life fell short of gaining my trust and left my family abandoned in many different ways. There is just as much influence in a father’s absence spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as in his presence. This influence is far-reaching, and the effects are long-term. This gap left me empty and longing for someone to love me and lead the way as an example of how to navigate through this world.
Men’s Discovery Weekend was influential in helping me realize that pushing thoughts and emotions aside and not dealing with them was harmful because they still affect how we live our daily lives. In addition, I learned the strength of forgiveness during this time which freed me from anger and resentment. When I think of Father’s Day, I experience a heavy feeling not only because of my life experiences but because it carries such a great responsibility for me as a father of my children. Most days, I feel like I miss the mark with how I show God’s love to my wife and to them.
My biggest fear is my kids feeling like I abandoned them or that I would make decisions that impact our lives contrary to what I say, and that they would feel the same absence that I felt growing up. I carry this fear with me in my parenting. I constantly second-guess myself. I overcompensate for what I lacked as a child by being over-involved. However, I don’t want them to remember a time when I wasn’t there for them or leave the impression that I didn’t care about them.
There is such an importance in being a father. I want them to know that being a man is not the world’s version of a man. While it is important to be strong and tough to face the hardness of this world, it is also okay to feel emotions and to have a softness of heart. I want to be intentional in paying attention to meeting my family in vulnerable places because it is where we make connections. Being vulnerable gives a man strength in leading his family as well.
I’m thankful I can celebrate Father’s Day and the joy of being a dad. Some days I feel like I shouldn’t be celebrated because of my shortcomings. However, I want to be that man who walks them through the treacherous roads in life like God has called me to do.
And although every other father in my life didn’t feel the need to stay, there is one that has never left my side. God has seen me through every step of my life. Even when I didn’t want Him to or felt like I didn’t deserve Him, He was there. There have been times in my life that I ran as fast as I could away from God, but I couldn’t outrun Him.
This year has been one of, if not the, hardest year of my life. I have leaned on God more than I ever have. And even though I know I don’t deserve it; He has been there. He has been my strength, comfort, peace, and refuge. He has shown me what it means to be a father who loves without end and never gives up. I pray daily that I can be the man He calls me to be and love my children the way He loves me.
Currently, one of my favorite songs is called “ Pride of a Father.” The chorus is, “When you see me, you see my heart through the eyes of your mercy and the light of your son. And you love me with open arms and the pride of a Father.”
God is the father that doesn’t see your mistakes. His love is stronger than your sin, and if your trust in Jesus, He loves you with open arms and the pride of a Father.