~ On this Father’s Day I honor my father, a man who slew many dragons on my behalf. ~
More than seventeen years ago, I was blessed with a hope made real.
Joy, wonder, expectation, anxiety, laughter, uncertainty.
I became a father.
Never can I shed that role. Five children will always know me as ‘dad.’ My attitudes and actions and words and thoughts and choices and proximity cannot separate me from my fatherly call. For sure, many things will quantify the quality of my parental effectiveness. But inherent with the procreative and adoptive acts that have made me a father is the unrelenting, uncompromising charge to provide and protect. To serve and to lead and to model and to nurture.
As a dad, I’ve been tested, abandoned, tempted, and tired. Celebrated and commemorated. The butt of jokes and the recipient of respect. I’ve been asked to do things I can’t and done things I shouldn’t. I’ve see my hard work ignored as demands for ‘more’ flow unceasing. I’ve been silent when my words needed voice. And there’ve been times when I spoke – and said too much.
Fatherhood is no fairy tale. Sure, our world is fantastic with real and metaphorical kings and queens and castles and feasts. Games and celebrations. Wonderful stories. We live in a Kingdom that’s here in part – with more to come.
But in the Kingdom are dragons.
Hoards of dragons. Devious, dangerous dragons that titillate our senses with the promise of personal peace and affluence. Life-stealers clothed as sex, money, and power. Villainous monsters with no bias or prejudice. Their breath is discouragement. Their claws sharp, eager to plunge deep and infect with despair. In their wake tumble wounded souls left to whither and die.
I hate dragons.
And dragons hate fathers.
Authentic fathers. Father’s who accept their role with gladness. Dads who shield and sacrifice. Engage and relate. Laugh and learn and listen and cry. Fathers who thwart the diabolical thirst for a child’s tender heart and the rending of the marital union. Men who use truth and love to push back the poisonous blend of lies, deceit, and discontentment that seeps from our scaly foe. Manly men who fight and get dirty and bloody and scream at the evil that is the dragons.
I’m a father. And I love it.
Dragons hate me. I love that, too.
I’m eager to slay some dragons.