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For what it’s worth, sometimes waking up on Father’s Day is an exercise in reflection, cringing views of what could have been, and thankfulness of what stands in reality and truth. There is a profound sadness to fatherhood at times. I know this is not a popular view, but in my experience, the nebulously defined role of a father receives short shrift in our day and time. Fathers struggle to know how to best serve. Many times we feel we fail miserably. I’m sure the same holds true with mothers. Unfortunately, my perception in life has been that fathers are not given the same grace as mothers. I feel this is an unfortunate slice of the fatherhood landscape.

With that, for fathers everywhere who’ve felt they don’t measure up, who’ve suffered harsh criticism despite their best effort, who’ve wept in private for their perceived shortcomings, both internal and from without, I encourage you to take heart and reach into that crazy reservoir of strength that seems to appear in the eleventh hour of any circumstance. Each of you stand as an integral part of a child’s life. Whether people or you wish to place value judgments on your legacy, just know that in the end, your best effort becomes all you really possess. Find the will to give this effort selflessly and know, at any moment in any day, you stand, not alone, but with a host of other fathers who desire their children’s best interest.

A Father’s Tears

Though seldom seen, they do indeed fall.
They trickle through his soul at every life stumble
They cascade his heart when he fails to meet his own expectation
They swirl in pools of missed opportunities to express himself in a loving manner.

A father’s tears bear out a lifetime of struggle
Between supporting his family
And a fair trade-off of quality time wrapped up in children
As well as recharge-moments for himself captured on the fly.

A father’s tears emanate from conflicts of responsibility and desire
Responsibility demanding a long-term look at his actions,
Desire split between the ‘now’ moment of connection and selfishness
Good choices and poor, all built up into a report-card-critique

A father’s tears scald.
They sear his heart in pent up expression
Desire to fail never an option but too often a reality
Heartless criticism rains down too often in convicting bullets

A father’s tears flow from the impossibility to fully protect his children.
Life spews its cruel lie of demanded perfection from flawed men
Who know the truth that burden and toil most often come with what-have-you-done-for-me-lately
Yet, we trudge on, hanging on the wisps of smiles, of laughter, of joy

For through a father’s tears, this world often appears bleak
Without the recognition of the wonders of dancing in the street with your daughter
The camaraderie of playing ball with your son
And the security the hope that through all trials, love wins…