A Father’s Gift
Men Building Bridges #11
The image of a father, literally carrying his son through numerous 150-mile Full Ironman Triathlons, is a crushing portrait of Love for a child. This father, even after suffering a heart attack with ongoing heart disease, loved his son so much, that he honored his son’s request. His son at first wanted to finish a marathon, then another marathon, then a triathlon. His son lives a life of joy & fulfillment, graduated from high school & college, and participates in life and those around him. This father’s love carried his son across the finish line. A father’s simple gift of love & belief shows how we make heaven on earth by doing the same for those around us, and allowing heaven for others.
All of us have been carried sometime. While contemplating a recent Advent Blog Post, I was forcefully reminded of the times that I was gifted to have been carried by love through some of the most devastating, desolate times in my life. The end of the year, Christmas, the approaching New Year prompts innumerable best of lists reviewing the past year and wondering what the New Year has in store for us. Looking back, hindsight is often, painfully, 20/20.
As a long-time cyclist, swimmer, and sometimes triathlete, I’ve been alone on several 70.3 Ironman courses, knowing absolutely no one on the course or on the sidelines. No one waited at the finish line. Sometimes, wanting to stop, I would choke up. I wondered why I was even doing any of it. I then realized I wasn’t alone, others were on the same course as I, an uplifting spirit carried me through the race and across the finish line. Heart steeled my resolve, struggling in the last few miles I told myself: ‘I’m not quitting! I will finish this race, or die trying!’. I finished, and will finish another 70.3 Ironman, again. The races weren’t about others seeing or even noticing, they were about finishing.
We have all been gifted with a biological father. For whatever reason, we have been gifted with the fathers we do have, or had. Some of us have men whom, though not biologically our father, stepped up & into that role. Some of us have never known our biological fathers, still others of us have or had fathers who variously turned their backs on us, sparing not the rod, or worse. Some of us had fathers who only expressed disappointment in us. Some of us have heard a father tell us, ‘You’ll never make it.’, or ‘I didn’t think you could do it.’. Some of us have had a father never see or share in our greatest achievements or triumphs. We, as sons, sometimes find ourselves consciously doing things differently than our fathers did. We all, as men, tend to view life through the failures of own biological fathers. Men sometimes forget that love is what makes life worth living.
Don’t measure the Gift of life by other’s failures, perhaps even the failures of our own human fathers. We each have our own achievements and failures. As hurt & disappointed as we have been in our own very human, biological fathers, as disappointed as we may be in ourselves as men, whether homeless, hospitalized, hurt, harmed, hated, hungry, jobless, divorced, addicted, alone, ALL of us have, at times been carried, pulled, pushed, held up by the hands of love – whether we acknowledge it or not. We, as men, will finish this triathlon of our lives. It will only be through the power and will of love, that will pick us up, push us, pull us, or carry us across the finish line of our lives as we meet life. We Will Do This, love will be with us all the way to, and at the finish line – if we let it. If we can do anything if we are loved, then love.