I was standing in line at Kroger. I had my four little ones with me. I was stopping by for a few groceries, and did not expect the long lines that I encountered there.
I was ecstatic earlier when I had found a shopping cart that was perfect for grocery-getting with my kids. The front has a car for James, and the seat in front is there for Megan. The older kids were sadly out of luck as they had to walk (and sneak a ride on the sides when the aisles weren't too crowded) As I sat there in line keeping Megan happy by letting her play with my Debit Card and Military ID, I noticed that James was at a perfect height to reach for the King Sized Reece's Peanut Butter Cups that the grocery stores so thoughtfully position in the checkout area. I bend over to remove the tempting treat from his hand and I hear a gentleman say, "I disagree with your T Shirt."
The T Shirt is a staple in my wardrobe. It has the picture of some Mommy sized sandals next to some child sized shoes and it reads, "Motherhood, the toughest job you'll ever love"
I fought all natural urges to kindly offer that the gentleman take charge of my four children, usher them through the checkout, load them up in the minivan in our oppressive summer heat, drive them home and feed them some lunch before he make such a statement.
Instead I said, "I bet you would prefer the fatherhood version" (My husband has that version)
"Yes" the man replied. He told me that he is still being father to his 42 year old son. I gave him a compassionate smile and said, "That is a lot of years of parenting" I do not know the reason why he is still parenting his adult son. I could think of a lot of reasons. He could be physically or mentally handicapped, he could have suffered from a life lived in the grips of alcohol or drug abuse, he could be staying with dad as he goes through a painful divorce, he could be a soldier who has not transitioned back to life after serving his country very easily.
"Fatherhood is a very important job" I added those words as a casual afterthought. It wasn't until a moment after the words left my mouth that I realized the truth of that statement. What an important role our fathers play in our lives, I see my husband. He encourages, challenges, and loves our children. He prioritizes time to help them grow in spirit and wisdom. What a blessing. I have a dad who worked hard and provided for a large family, who cared about our spiritual upbringing, and who is eager to love on his grandchildren. And I have a God. A God that does not stand distant upon a mighty throne, but craves relationships with His children. He encourages us, His sinful, ungrateful, self-absorbed children to call Him "Father"
So as I managed the rest of the way through the checkout line, loaded my kids in the minivan in the oppressive heat, drove them home and fed them lunch, I thought about this man, prayed for him to have strength in whatever struggles he is dealing with, and said a prayer of thanksgiving to my Father for all the fathers we have.