I’m terrified of my car breaking down. Mostly because I need my car to get to work, but partially also because I have no idea how to fix it or even who I should go to and what questions I should ask. If I ever need something fixed or checked out, I go to a trustworthy friend, Jasper, who knows a thing or two about cars and has helped me in the past. But even though he knows his stuff and is usually available to check out my car, he won’t always be there.
I’ve forgiven my dad for the many things he left me to figure out on my own, but as I grow older and move on into adulthood, I’ve come across many areas where I wish I had a dad to consult. And every time I wish I had a dad, I get a little angry, I feel a little resentment towards the man who abandoned me. When it comes to things like cars and getting them fixed, I wish I had a dad who showed me how to do it all or to at least teach me what the different parts are. I didn’t know how to change a tire until after my sophomore year of college and even still, it’s only a conceptual knowledge; not an experiential one.
My car will be fine because I have plenty of friends to advise me over what I should do to fix the various parts, but my car-breakdown paranoia has revealed me to something I’m just going to have to live with: Growing up without a dad to show me the way. Yes, the several father-figures I’ve had have been exceedingly helpful, but at the end of the day, they were always someone else’s dad, not my own.
As I’ve said, I’ve forgiven my dad for what he did and didn’t do. But living on through adulthood will bring about many areas where I wish he had been there still. Like when I start dating, I’ll wish he had been there to give me a few pointers. Or if/when I get married, I’ll wish he had been there at the wedding. And if/when I have kids of my own, I’ll wish he had been there to be their grandpa. The fact remains, though, he won’t. And that’s my lot in life.
After it’s all said and done, it’s probably best that he wasn’t in my life. Sure it’d be nice to learn from my own dad on various things that life brings, but from what my mom has told me, he probably wouldn’t have been a good father. In fact, I may not be who I am today if he was a part of my life; I would probably have followed in his footsteps. Instead, I have the best Father anyone could ever have: God. No he can’t play catch with me or teach me the best way to shave. But He can teach me how to be a man. He can teach me how develop and clean the inside of the cup rather than the outside; He can teach me how to be loving like He is loving, merciful like He is merciful, patient like He is patient. It just looks different.
The road I’ve been put on is a tough one, for sure. Maybe not the toughest, but it is difficult. What’s most important for me to do, though, is to never forget that 1) God will never give me more than I can handle (spiritually and emotionally) and 2) He will never leave me. He is not like any human father; He doesn’t abandon orphaned kids because He’s afraid of responsibility. No, on the contrary, He teaches boys in how to become men; irresponsible kids into responsible adults. Whether you grew up with a dad or not, learning how to be a Godly man or woman requires patience and persistence.
This means that if I want to learn how to change a tire, fix my brakes, fix my waterpump, ask a girl out, treat the girl in a Godly manner, commit to the girl in a life-long bond of marriage, raise my own kids, and to teach them how to raise their own kids, I have to be courageous to ask the people around me and humble to received their instruction. And as always, I must seek God’s guidance in everything.