June 18, 2010
Faith and Our FathersBy now you're probably aware that, here at Strangely Dim, we like to celebrate things. Months, donkeys, friends. And books, of course. In this post we're celebrating books and an actual holiday (can you handle that much partying all at once?). Yes, kiddos, this Sunday is Father's Day. I for one would like to say thanks to my dad--for his love, support and wisdom. Also for reading my blog posts. And I would like to say to all you readers: if you haven't bought a card yet, there's still time. But you should go soon, because if you wait till Saturday night or Sunday morning, the only cards left will be the ones that whistle "Yankee Doodle Dandy" when you open them. If you haven't bought a gift yet--no problem. We just happen to have a suggestion.
Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet is a book about fathers and sons, about the struggle to love and be loved, about the struggle to accept ourselves as we are. And it's written by Nathan Foster, son of spiritual formation leader and bestselling author Richard Foster--a designation Nathan would not have appreciated a few years ago. Though known and revered by many for years, Richard was largely a mystery--and even a source of anger and bitterness--to Nathan, who couldn't understand what the big deal was about his father, and who resented the work that kept him from their family. Nathan writes:
For the first two decades of my life, I didn't really know my father. He was like a serious, silent ghost. . . . The world seemed to know more of the man I grew up with than I did. . . . As I became a young adult, my father and I seemed to have no time or interest in getting to know one each other. We had nothing in common.
But then, on a whim of Nathan's, they started to climb mountains together. Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains--the Fourteeners--to be exact. In the process, Nathan navigated his twenties, including marriage, career choices and some major pitfalls, and learned a lot about himself and his father. Here's a peek:
The whole notion of pacing myself was so simple, yet it sparked a revolution, a cosmic shift in the way in which I attempted to love my life. My string of failures was about to end. I was learning how to hike. I was learning how to live from a man I had determined had nothing to teach me.Wisdom Chaser celebrates the unique (read: sometimes awkward, sometimes tumultuous but powerful and loving) relationship between fathers and their children, and Nathan's funny, brutally honest writing makes it an inspiring read. It's a great gift to say thanks to your dad for the wisdom he's given, and apologize for all the times you failed to appreciate that wisdom. (Unless, of course, your dad hates to read. Then this is probably not a good gift idea. In that case, I suggest a set of steak knives.)
Of course, while we do love to celebrate at Strangely Dim, and while we are big fans of dads, we also recognize that in this broken world, Father's Day is not always a happy day. For those of you grieving an unreconciled or abusive relationship, or mourning the death of a really wonderful father, we are so sorry for your pain. I'm particularly reminded of this this week, as a friend of mine passed away; Father's Day comes just eleven days after her death, and will no doubt be a day of sadness for her dad, instead of celebration.
For those who are hurting, and for all of us, Father's Day can ultimately point us to our true, perfect Father: the one who is always for us, who teaches us with perfect wisdom, who never fails. Margot Starbuck, Likewise author and one for whom Father's Day has not always been the happiest of days, gives us some good perspective in The Girl in the Orange Dress:
Like Israel, I had deduced from my difficult human circumstances that my Father had forsaken me. Hopeless, I had cried out with Zion, "The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me" (Isaiah 49:14).
So whether you're celebrating or grieving on this Father's Day, know that you are loved by the Father of us all. In that sense, happy Father's Day, from all of us at Strangely Dim.