Monday, June 18, 2012

On Being Fatherless and Planting Mustard Seeds

Reality has a way of intervening into my own little bubble of bliss. In our small family of four, our Father's Day was fine. And yet, over the past few days I have encountered no fewer than 10 children of our acquaintance who are essentially fatherless.

Their fathers have not died but instead have abandoned their children both emotionally and physically. They have messed up so badly that they and their children struggle to have any kind of connection.

We all need fathers. My own father wasn't perfect while I was growing up. That is not the point. Children do not need perfect parents; in fact we all know there is no such animal.

My dad, now in his eighties, was always present in my life and in the lives of my three siblings, just as my husband is present every single day in the lives of our two sons. I knew he was giving his heart and soul into raising us, even if his efforts sometimes fell short in my eyes. I knew he loved me and he was doing the best he could.

It pains me to see children who do not grow up with such a privilege. It is hard not to avert my gaze from the sadness in their eyes. And yet, this is why being a Christian gives me such solace. Because we are children of God, because a Presence summoned us by name into being, because that Presence knit us into being, none of us is truly fatherless.

The Psalmist reminds us: "You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am wonderfully made."

Even if we grew up with fathers in our lives, we all have a need, a longing for the kind of immeasurable love that only the Eternal Father gives.

I pray that the longing I see in the faces of the fatherless can be satisfied by the understanding that each of them was lovingly planted here as a mustard seed. "It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”


  1. So, so true. Fatherlessness is epidemic, it seems. And culturally acceptable. May those who are without earthly fathers, come to know the love of our Heavenly Father.

  2. Fatherless-ness is often through abandonment, and then by design. It is very sad. Thank you for this thoughtful treatment of the subject.

  3. Thanks you for your thoughtful comments on this subject. Fatherlessness is rough...even when you grew up thinking it was normal, all of a sudden you realize it wasn't and it bowls you over.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Blessings to you, fellow mustard seed.

  4. I too was blessed with a not-so-perfect dad, but very present and did the best he could. I was browsing through some of those e-cards people post on facebook all the time, and all of the original ones created for father's day, were so sad. Things like "Thanks for giving me enough baggage for a lifetime dad" and "Thanks for never being there." This generation needs so much healing for that. But thanks be to God, He is capable of bringing it about. Visiting from Catholic Women Bloggers. :)