Today, I am thankful for fathers.
Typically, as a rule, I am thankful for fathers in the most general sense. Though my own father and I have always loved one another, our love has always been characterized by tension. Disagreement. Neither of us do much to avert this tension, as I offer my sarcasm and he offers his raised voice.
Our squabbles can be traced to something as significant as life after college, or to something as trivial as a flu shot. And somewhere in-between the lines, I often forget that my father does really love me. It’s easy to forget that after a shouting match on the phone about grades, or my ignoring his calls.
But today, on the walk home from dinner, I was struck with the power of fatherly love. Not from my own father, or even directed towards me.
A few hundred feet from home, I came across a father throwing rocks with his children. He couldn’t have been too much older than I, judging from his red sweater and shorts, and the youthful grin on his face. Here was a grown man, running around in circles, jumping up and down, kneeling with two little tots that couldn’t have been a day older than six or seven. Under any other circumstance, displays of this nature in public would be disheartening. But here, it was heartbreaking.
It made me, if just for a moment, made the flustered and anxious person I call “father” turn back into the man with a grin on his face, and the weight of reality absent from the lines beneath his eyes. I saw myself throwing rocks, climbing on my dad’s shoulders, wiping my runny nose on his sleeve.
Much of life can seem meaningless, at times. But it’s the brief asides, like those, that remind me that there’s just a little bit more to what’s going on than the monotonous dealings of day-to-day living. That remind me that even the most difficult and distant of people still, deeper down, love.
Today, I am thankful for fathers who love their children. What, or whom, are you thankful for today?