Every single Father’s Day for the last ten years, like clockwork, I’ve gotten a phone call from a kid I once coached on a sports team. Actually, this kid is a grown man now. He’s explained that during those years we were on that team together, although he knew that I was mainly focused on coaching, my main contribution for him was as a father figure. I’ll tell you, I always just beam when I receive his call.
My own dad used to encourage me often. Though he has since passed on, I realize my life continues to overflow with a spirit of fathering. In fact, I am constantly finding myself on both the receiving and the giving ends of it. When stressed or doubtful, I often feel a reassuring, fatherly encouragement and realize it is because I’ve learned that fathering care, if pure and true, actually comes from a divine source. It’s a sense of love so deep it overflows in my heart and feels so pure that it could come only from God, divine Love itself.
This true Parent, whom Jesus called “Our Father” (see Matthew 6:9) is infinite Love and Spirit and is never absent, even for a few minutes. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332).
Our relation to our Father is as His spiritual offspring, the very expression of His being. Therefore God’s beautiful qualities are always here for all of us, male and female, to both receive and express. These spiritual qualities are empowering gifts such as joy, tenderness, and strength.
To recognize and appreciate the wonderful qualities God expresses through us honors our divine Father. One of the Ten Commandments is “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). To me, this goes beyond appreciation for and obedience to Mom and Dad. It includes being deeply grateful for our divine Parent, God, whose love and care are so constant, so present, so wonderful.
And through this kind of gratitude we become more receptive to our Father’s encouraging, comforting, healing inspiration. I’ve really come to appreciate how the Bible describes God as a Father with “no variableness” (James 1:17). This Father never takes a break. He is always here for us consistently and without variation.
I experienced this years ago when a colleague misrepresented my work to people in upper management, and as a result my opportunities to contribute were drastically curtailed. Over and over I turned to God in prayer, seeking His loving, patient encouragement. And I would feel His strength inspiring and buoying me, reminding me that our divine Father does not leave us alone or uncared for.
As a result, I no longer felt helpless or deprived of good, and the day finally came when I was free of resentment. I knew that opportunities to serve God, to feel and express His qualities, would never run out. This has proved to be the case.
I believe that it’s Father’s Day anytime we’re conscious of living as examples of God’s unvarying fatherhood. It’s Father’s Day anytime we spot evidence of God’s loving fatherhood expressed by another person. It’s Father’s Day whenever we gratefully acknowledge everyone’s real identity as God’s spiritual creation.
This coming Sunday, I’ll be ready for that happy phone call. And every day I will humbly seek and feel the Father’s love for me – which we all can do. I’ll express fatherhood with my own kids, and even with people to whom I’m not related. Those opportunities come often – and I guess that makes sense since we all are cherished members of our divine Father’s universal family.