In this crazy life I live, I frequently walk out my door and see redemption in my front yard. These days I walk out my door to Phillip, a single father to a rambunctious three year old and sweet eight month old. We are working on reconciliation with his wife*, but for now he is carrying the privilege and burden of parenting on his own. And he does it beautifully, performing his Abide chores with his baby strapped to his chest. Swallowing his frustrations with his preschooler and listening when we gently explain we think his behaviors are reactions to his mom leaving. He stands tall with the weight of parenthood, grief, confusion, and no answers to what’s next on his shoulders.
And his story hits so close to home for me.
I walk out my front door and I see Phillip’s three year old climbing the wrong way up the slide and I see me. I was a little older than him when I lost my mother but I was that confused little kid with the patient father who swallowed his frustrations as I acted out my grief and stood tall under the weight of parenthood, grief, and confusion.
I recently came face to face with some of the hard life likes to throw at us. The moment it happened, after I picked myself off the floor and remembered how to breathe again, my very first instinct was to call my dad.
It didn’t matter that we hadn’t spoken in a few weeks. It didn’t matter that he was continents away. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t make it all better. Just his voice on the other end of the phone; knowing that someone else loved me enough to grieve as much for me as I was grieving now. To know that when he said he’d pray for me and check up on me he meant it. To know there are people in this world that will never abandon me, change their mind about me, stop loving me. In my line of work, that privilege is not lost on me.
I want to walk across the yard and scoop up Phillip’s three year old into my arms and whisper into his ears, “one day you might think your world is crashing down and when that day comes you will reach for your phone and you’ll have a dad to call. A dad who knows what it is to walk through the dark periods of life. A dad who loves you. A dad who fought to keep you. When that day comes you’ll have someone to call.”
That’s what this is all about isn’t it? Because everyone deserves someone to call.
*Phillip’s wife has come back since I wrote this. Please be praying for healing and forgiveness in this little family.