Mercy and Fatherhood

With my trip to Rome and Lourdes soon approaching and recently celebrating Father’s Day, I’ve been meditating on mercy and fatherhood and how they are entwined in my life. I’ve been meditating on the term mercy because the Pope proclaimed this year an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and thus the reason I’m going on my trip.  I’m hoping to receive a merciful act,  being healed of cancer.   If that’s the case, there are no words that could describe that experience.  It would give me added time to spend with my family and allow me to see my children grow older.  Even if I receive the gift of  being healed of cancer, I still will pass away eventually.  That is why I view healing as a merciful act, but not the ultimate merciful act.   I believe true mercy is having the opportunity to go to heaven where love is everlasting.

Mercy and fatherhood are entwined in my life because my children observe my words and behaviors. Since being diagnosed, I think about what I want to teach them and how I can help them navigate life when I’m gone.  Do they see me doing kind and merciful acts with and for others?  Do they hear me using kind words with others? What kind of example am I setting?  I am far from being dad of the year, as Janie and my girls can attest, but I do my best and I hope my children witness me doing more positive and loving acts than negative. (Disclaimer-I do have a three hour window of unkind words during the Philadelphia Eagles games once a week for 16 weeks, hopefully playoff weeks as well, but that would be another example of a merciful act)

Father’s Day has more importance to me now than it did three and a half years ago.  It is a day that reminds me how of blessed I am.  I don’t need the added attention or recognition, but I do like it.  I like getting more hugs, homemade cards and seeing their proud smiles while giving me a gift they picked out or made for me. I’m in trouble because my girls have me wrapped around their fingers.  I just put on a front in hopes they don’t realize it.  I am still amazed that I am a father and have two beautiful, wonderful daughters. Since having girls, I’m more aware of societal norms placed on gender.  I am now a feminist and I don’t want the princess to be a damsel in distress, but instead I want the princess saving the prince, the king and the whole world.

I wish a wonderful and happy first Father’s Day to my good friend Gerrit Benson.  I’m excited for you and Amy to experience the joy of parenthood.  Tragically,  I know a young father who passed away earlier this month from colon cancer.  Please hold Josh, his wife Kelsey, and two year old son, Gunner, in your prayers and close to your hearts.

I will have my next scan in mid- July.  It will show how effective my radiation was in treating my lung tumor.  I will also pray for all of you at all the major basilicas of Rome and at the Grotto of Lourdes.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am without your love, prayers, and support.    

 

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My dad and I around a fire on the Snake River in Idaho. I still and always will want to be like you when I grow up. Love you Zonk.

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