father's day angst.

It’s here tomorrow, yet another holiday that is great for all kinds of people and really hard for many others. I have written about all the major ones at this point–Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter, and Father’s Day, too.

But here we are again.

Father’s Day always seems to seek up on us, and I didn’t want this day to go by without taking a pause and remembering that this day can create a lot of angst for people for all kinds of different reasons.

But before I do I want to say this: If you’ve got a good daddy and can celebrate today, enjoy! It’s a beautiful thing. 

I am grateful to have a dad who does love me dearly and is good to my mom even though they have been divorced for over 45 years. But, it’s also complicated. I’ve spent years healing from some of the realities that have affected my life and my faith, and I’m celebrating the present like never before.

I also know there are many in a different place, who will be taking a break from social media tomorrow, who are feeling that pit in their stomachs, who are dreading what it stirs up in their kids, and I wanted to acknowledge the reality of this day.

This Father’s Day weekend, there are so many out here who…

Are grieving the loss of their fathers–it might have been years ago or just recently, but the hole they leave can never be filled.

Are grieving the loss of a child–the ache is ever-present, but its reality magnifies on this day.

Have children of all ages who are hurting and struggling and believe if “I had just been a better father back then” things would be better now. 

Wish they were able to have children but haven’t been able to and are constantly faced with that reality.

Long for a dad who is present and available and caring and protecting but received a much different kind.

Never knew their father but always wondered what he might have been like and why he didn’t stay.  

Dream of a different kind of father for their children.

Dream of a different kind of father for themselves.

Remain stuck with ex-husbands and ex-wives and partners who fail to take care of their babies properly and make life hard.

Or remain connected to ex-husbands and ex-wives and  partners who might be really great, but this holiday is a reminder of the loss of marriages and dreams.

Were taught a really damaging theology about God and are unwinding from beliefs that included God as a father who was constantly mad, disapproving, and harsh. 

Wonder what it would be like to hear the words “Well done”, “I’m proud of you”, “I’m with you all the way”, “I believe in you” from their fathers.

Believe we’re less-than because other kids and friends have fathers-who-care and we don’t.

Ache for a hug, a smile, a laugh, a push on the swing, a kind word, a tender touch from their dads–again, or maybe for the first time.

Like some of these other holidays, Father’s Day is sometimes a day of grief.

With grief, it’s always most important to let ourselves feel what we need to feel. 

To remember you’re not crazy; the loss of a father–no matter what that loss looks like–always hurts. 

To acknowledge that God and real-life can get all tangled up and sometimes we need a little help with the untangling. 

This Father’s Day, I am always reminded how daddy love is so important and sometimes so elusive. It’s also why community can be so important; some of us desperately need safe surrogate fathers & brothers & sons to help heal brokenness in our lives and restore some of what’s been lost along the way.

It can never fully replace what’s been lost, but sometimes it really helps.

May hope and peace seep in this weekend.

Love from Colorado, Kathy

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

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