A large rabbit bumped its way across the street ahead of me as I walked the dog the other morning. Cash and I watched it make its funny zig-zag path in and out of front yards, then back onto the road, grey ears flapping, powerful hind legs pumping.
I thought of my lettuce plants and my neighbour’s garden. I wondered if Peter Cottontail would soon be helping himself. Most likely he’d already done that. He did look a bit plump. And I thought of my father.
Rabbits usually bring my thoughts round to Dad. To the puffball he brought home for me as a kid; barely a fistful of downy white fur with pink eyes and black ears. Sam, I named that puff. Dad built Sam a large cage (which the bunny quickly grew into), and over the next few years, my father took great pleasure in the joy I found in that pet. I wish I’d thanked Dad for that. But I was too young to recognize his true gift—the selfless love that takes delight in the joy of one’s children. More delight than in one’s own pleasures. Not all children are blessed with that kind of parental love.
For the first Father’s Day in my life, I have no father on earth to greet. Dad passed into the sole care of our Heavenly Father in 2020. I picture him at peace, free from the immobility and loneliness that had gripped him in the half dozen years since Mom went on ahead. He never wanted a mansion, but I pray God gives him a corner in Heaven to farm. A horse or two, a boat for a nearby body of water. And great food – with no tossed salad – at mealtimes. He may have enjoyed rabbits, but he never did appreciate what he called “rabbit food.”
While I can’t greet Dad this Father’s Day, I’m grateful both my children and all six grandchildren are blessed with living fathers they can greet. They already have their own “father stories,” and the collection will keep growing. A sight, a smell, a song, an experience will trigger memories, hopefully more good ones than hard. (No human parent is perfect after all.) They’ll remember, perhaps laugh, then ponder and realize, like I do now, the depth of that father-love.
While not everyone is blessed with a kindly, gift-giving father in life, anyone who loves and follows Christ can be assured of the love of our Father in Heaven. “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! John 3:1”
While pondering that, songwriter Stewart Townend penned the words to what has become a classic worship hymn: “How deep the Father’s love for us; how vast beyond all measure. That He would give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.” Child of God, you are His treasure. His pleasure. Father’s Day bring good reason to remember that love most.