I want to take a moment here to honor my father.
If you know Stephen Wagler, you know he is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. He’s funny, he has a loud laugh and an even louder phone voice. He’s an honest businessman and an even better provider for my family.
He taught me to love Jesus, he took me on countless trips as a child and planted a love of travel in my heart. He took me to so many Phillies games, to Broadway plays, and his Canadian heart may have even taught me a few things about hockey. He definitely taught me the magic of Tim Hortons.
He likes his coffee strong and black (cowboy coffee is an art form in which he is skilled). He showed me every episode of Seinfeld, and his favorite movies are some of mine (O Brother, Where Art Thou supremacy). Because of him and my mom, I still like flipping through paper newspapers, even in 2016.
He’s loved my mother for 36 years, and isn’t that the best thing a father can ever do for his child?
For the past couple months, I have been thinking about what it means to be a father. I have so many friends whose fathers have disappointed them again, and again. “What separates the good dads from the bad?” I wondered. “Why are some people willing to give up things they want to do in order to better care for their children, while other people cling to their selfish desires, even if it hurts their families?”
My dad is flawed just like the rest of us, and I’ve argued with him upwards of a thousand times, but there’s never once been a time when he did not come through for me.
EVERY time I truly needed him, he was there.
Is that not the most beautiful picture of our Father God? He is consistent. There’s never going to be a time when we call on Him and He won’t pick up the phone (even when he’s already in bed and you left your lights on and let your car battery die, AGAIN).
Whether you had the best or the worst biological dad in the world, your Father God is so much more. More bold, more protective, more compassionate. He loves you with a love that is unfailing. Every time your earthly father fails you, there is another who is willing to step in. Who wants to step in. There is a good, good Father who wants nothing more than for you to accept His love. He wants to show you all the mysteries of this world and the next, and all the mysteries of your own soul. All you have to do is let Him.
Walt Whitman – “On the Beach at Night”
On the beach, at night,
Stands a child, with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.
Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower, sullen and fast, athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends, large and calm, the lord-star Jupiter;
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate brothers, the Pleiades.
From the beach, the child, holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower, victorious, soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.
Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears;
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky- shall devour the stars only in
Jupiter shall emerge- be patient- watch again another night- the
Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal- all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall
shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again- they
The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall
Then, dearest child, mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?
Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding, I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter,
Longer than sun, or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant brothers, the Pleiades.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there today.
To my own father: Thank You for loving me well. Thank you, most of all, for leading me into a relationship with my heavenly Father.