The Heart of a Father

A blessing for Father’s Day

The heart of a father
who loves his children,
who pours into them wisdom and knowledge,
and teaches them skills, 
and gives them experiences,
and watches them sleep in the night, their faces pressed against their pillows,
dreams flitting across their faces,
and prays,
for their tender hearts,
and their wide open futures,
and the pain that will pierce them,
and the joy that will buoy them…

the heart of a father
that breaks in pieces with his child’s suffering,
and breaks wide open with his child’s delight,
that beats in time with their steps,
and when danger threatens, ceases to beat altogether…

the heart of a father 
that swells with his children’s accomplishments,
and shrinks with their humiliation,
that finds itself utterly linked to their hearts,
mysterious, holy, and maddening…

the heart of a father 
that never before knew such worry,
or wonder,
or waiting,
that would give his beloved child the moon if he could,
would sacrifice his own life if it came to that,
and that sometimes 
wishes only 
to be left 
to catch his breath,
to regain his footing,
to place a hand on his chest 
and feel the beat, 
steady, confident, unwavering,
even when he is none of those
at the moment…

the heart of a father,
the heart that hangs onto this small person, 
who is confoundingly both yours 
and not yours at all,
the heart that lets go of your person,
always letting them go
giving them what they need
in order to let them go
into the world
to make their own way,
and to come home into the safe arms of a father
when things fall apart,
to be held and comforted,
and stood up, and brushed off,
and sent out again,
taking with them his own heart….

this heart, God, 
bless this heart today.

Today bless each one 
who bears a father’s heart.

Thank you for those who have fathered us,
whose hearts have shaped and strengthened ours,
who have clung to us and let us go, 
who have loved and taught and prayed and steadied, 
who have fought for us when we were wronged,
and fought against us when we were wrong, 
those who’ve failed and flailed and forgiven, 
sacrificed and celebrated and shown us the way.
Thank you for those who have shared 
their own hearts with us in loud and quiet ways, 
and have given us what we needed to share 
our own hearts with the world.
Thank you, God, for fathers.

God bless and hold and 
keep all fathers’ hearts,
in your own heart today, 
and every day.

Thank you, Abba, 
for the heart of a father.

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