Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scattered Father's Day Thoughts

It's not supposed to be this way. This morning, I was sitting on the pew, waiting for Church to start, waiting for Priesthood opening exercises. I was sitting alone. Men were spread out all over the sanctuary. I was feeling a bit sad. I thought, "It's not supposed to be this way. I'm supposed to have family and friends sitting right next to me, their shoulders brushing against mine, reminding me that I am loved, and that whatever it is I have to face, I can face it with them."

I felt the Spirit's presence saying, "Until things are the way they're supposed to be, I'm here for you."

I felt better, knowing I could find the strength to keep the faith and help make things right.

Family is me too. Our priesthood lesson was on the doctrine of eternal family. There was a lot of talk about one man, one woman, etc., etc.

Something stirring deep inside told me, Family is me too. I shared a story about how, when my grandmother's parents died in the great Spanish influenza epidemic in 1919 and 1920, their life-long bachelor uncle took in the eight orphaned children and raised them as his own. That sparked a discussion about how family is bigger than just one isolated male-female coupling and their children.

The teacher warmly thanked me for my comments after class...

It's personal now. Ward leaders asked me to participate in a special, six-week-long family history class, so that's been my Sunday School last week and today.

Individuals in the class were asked to talk about their family history research experiences. I thought, OK. This is personal now. I can't get by on vague generalities any more. This is about me. Real family. My real family.

I told the story of how Göran's mom had taken him away as a child, how he didn't even learn her real name until years after she died, how he only just met his father again for the first time about three years ago. I talked about our three trips to Memphis, Tennessee since then, meeting and getting to know members of his family. Looking at family books and Bibles and photos with them, and starting to put together a family tree that right now reaches back to George Washington's day.

Because I love them. Sacrament meeting was all about Father's Day. It was a good meeting. There were good talks.

I was thinking about Göran and Glen. Glen is spending the weekend with us, to celebrate Father's Day with us. I thought, Here I am separated from my family on Father's Day. But this is helping me. This is me working at becoming a better man, a better husband, a better dad.

I was anxious to get home afterwards. Some youth were standing outside the doors of the chapel with cans of A&W root beer to which they had affixed the label "POP." They didn't give me one. I wasn't sure if it's because I'm not considered a dad, or because I left the chapel before they were ready to hand out the Father's Day tokens. I'm not going to worry about it too much.

My friend E. stopped me at the back entrance. "Are you OK?" he asked. I noticed he had a can of "POP" in his hand.

"I am, I'm great," I said.

His brows furrowed. He grabbed me warmly by the arm and stared at me skeptically. "Really?" he asked.

I looked him in the eye, and I calmly said, "Really. I am. I'm great. I just want to go home now. I want to be with my husband and my son. They're waiting for me. It's Father's Day."

"OK," he said, his voice still not letting me off the hook. "You go be a father. I'll call you later today."

I walked out the back entrance feeling really great that I have a friend who really cares, who really wants to make sure.

Dads. Plural. Glen's idea for Father's Day was a road trip. So we've rented a car, and we're driving down to southern Minnesota. He wants both of his living foster dads to be with him while we visit his father's grave.

Göran and Glen are in a jovial mood. They had a great night's sleep... They were still sleeping when I got home from Church. We had breakfast together, while Göran told us about a strange dream he had about a drag queen battle royale. Glen is going skydiving next month, and we shared our skydiving stories with him.

I'm feeling really, incredibly lucky. I love Göran so much. I love our foster son so much. I'm so proud of what an incredible job he's done in his first year of college. What an amazing young man. I miss him terribly. I see him once a week, but still I miss having him here under our roof. Life feels like it's the way it's supposed to be when we're together. We're a complete family again.

I have this prayer that is more or less constant, whenever I think of him. It goes, Let him be happy. Let him have all the best things in life. Let him have everything he so richly deserves. Make him everything he can be. Let him live into his full stature. Let him have a life full of love.

Happy Father's Day, everyone!


Mind Of Mine said...

How come you are separated from your family?

calibosmom said...

Happy Father's Day to you and Goran!

J G-W said...

MOM - My husband and our foster son don't attend Church with me, because they don't feel welcome at the LDS Church.

Calibosmom! Thanks! We had a fantastic time with Glen this afternoon... After visiting his father's grave, he treated us to "Papa Burgers" at A&W. Delish!

Melanie said...

I'm so glad you got to spend the afternoon with Glen and Goran. Happy Father's Day!
ps-I'm sure it was an oversight by the YW to not give you a "pop"- we love you!

MoHoHawaii said...

I have this prayer that is more or less constant, whenever I think of him. It goes, Let him be happy. Let him have all the best things in life. Let him have everything he so richly deserves. Make him everything he can be. Let him live into his full stature. Let him have a life full of love.

Dang it. You always have a way of making me cry.

:- )

Happy Father's Day! I've said it before, but I'll say it again: you are blessed.

Anonymous said...

I had to work all day, but by phone and email I connected with my kids, congratulating my son on his second year as a father and playing online Ticket to Ride with my daughter (she "let" me win two out of three). You're right, life is good.

J G-W said...

Melanie - I missed being able to give you a congratulations hug!! It was wonderful seeing you and Reuben with the baby, and witnessing that wonderful blessing. Mazel tov!

Mohohawaii, Santorio - Thank you! I hope you had a beautiful Father's Day as well! Ours ended beautifully. Wonderful, peaceful family time, including some tears of joy when no one was looking. I live for these kinds of moments nowadays.