Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I am incredibly grateful for my own father. He has been an amazing parent. He was always there for us. He has been fiercely committed to his family for over 45 years. There has never been a time when we could not rely on him. Even during the few years when I was estranged from my father, at the time I left the Church and was struggling to come to terms with my sexual orientation (and he was struggling to come to terms with it), I know that his love for me was unquestioned. It was just a time when we were both trying to figure out how best to express our love for each other. Though I know now how truly deep his love for me was. Far deeper than I thought at the time.

I don't even have the words to express the joy that I have felt as my father and I have become fully reconciled in recent years. We have literally wept tears of joy in each other's arms. I imagine that some day that is what my reunion with my Heavenly Father will be like.

In a conversation we had in the past year, my father made an off-hand comment about how his commitment to his family relates to his commitment to the Church. He said, "My ward is a temporal structure. In the next life, I won't be together with my ward. But my family is eternal." Keep in mind that my father is a very devout member of the Church who would do anything to serve the members of his ward. So that gives you some idea of how he loves and serves his family.

I have a growing gratitude for my father's wisdom as a father. All my parents' kids are now grown up and living on their own. But we don't stop needing a father. He still has work to do in teaching us and caring for us, and he fulfills that work faithfully. He will never stop being a father to us. He still prays for us every day. I know this because when we have been together during visits, I hear him and my mother pray individualized prayers for each child and grandchild, every day. We are still in touch with him every week, even when we live on opposite ends of the country from him. He still does whatever he can to help us with our problems, and to guide us through loving example. He still blesses us; he still lays his hands on our heads and invokes the power of the priesthood to bring goodness into our lives. But his insight into the challenges and the difficulties of life that we must face continues to grow. He is wiser than ever.

In case you can't tell, I really love and admire and want to be just like my father!

A year ago at my ward, on Father's Day the youth of the ward distributed little boutonnières to "fathers and future fathers," and I was touched when the daughter of a friend presented me with one. At that point, Göran and I knew we were going to be foster dads, we just didn't know when or who would be our foster son. But in December we finally became foster dads.

This Father's Day, we are fathers too. It sunk in for me when I overheard Glen speaking to a friend on the phone about us, and he referred to us as his "fathers." What an amazing feeling! What an amazing responsibility!

Happy Father's Day!

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