Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's Day

First, addressing my comment in January to have a blog post for Father’s Day, I can’t find the essay I had for Father’s Day. Sorry, so goes my life. You would think a school teacher would be more organized. About fourteen years ago, I wrote this short essay on being a father. I thought it would make a good piece for today. When I find it, and I know I will, I may use it for a post in that moment.

When I write for the blog, I am aware that what is clear to me through personal experience may not connect with others. Understandings I have because of my unique experiences as a person contrast with understanding our common humanity. I tend to think and write as if I have discovered a perspective we all should share. This paragraph is a disclaimer. I do not write on this blog as if I think everyone should believe as me. The flip side of that is I have always been fascinated by the why of emotion, and by extension, why the world functions as it does. As a result of my fascination with the inner human, I have come up with answers to satisfy me. Answers I offer here but not because I think these answers should satisfy you, Blog-reader. Seek to know for yourself.

I guess that is a long way to say the following is, “As I see it.”

Commonality is part of the sub-title of this blog. Once I involved myself in a debate over homosexuality with another citizen through the letters-to-the-editor page of a local newspaper. My “opponent” in the debate would describe ironic social circumstances illustrating how illogical humans were; then when having offered no real reasoning, finish with the phrase, “Go figure.” As if meaningful explanation of the situation he described did not, could not exist; so we humans could understand very little about life in the largest sense. His contention basically: we are each trapped in an individual bubble, so my response to life (his sexual orientation) is as equally correct as all others. The writer was attempting to deal with his perception of random circumstances, and thereby justify his feelings.

He was, however, not my opponent. The circumstance of our exchange is correctly labeled “opponents in debate” on a cultural or social level, but the label is incorrect on a universal level. He was my fellow human. The failure to understand commonality of human experience as a universal truth is in part an explanation for war, and I contend among the roots of a divided Christianity. Discovering our commonality and living there is a component of entering a deeper spiritual life.

One thing I understand about us humans. We live based on our feelings. The common person, speaking outside any objective professional training, incorporates feelings into personal decisions and opinions. I think this is an absolute reality. How often in public, when close enough to overhear a conversation between two people discussing something of import to them, can the phrase, “I feel” be picked up? Very often! Listen for it when someone is deeply involved in a topic; the words fall away from social parameters, and he or she expresses the inward being. The phrase "I feel" will be voiced. Listen when someone is speaking casually and simply voices an opinion, those same words will be heard.

Believe it or not, this post is about Father’s Day. One thing all humans have in common is a relationship with a father. If all a person knows is that there is no emotional relationship, father was just the source of half the chromosomes, such lack is the basis of what is felt about the word father. One thing all humans need is a relationship with Father, Creator of the Universe. Our common experiences with fathers and fatherhood are at the core of why we feel the things we feel. Our common experience of Father, which may be either knowing or rejecting Him, is the core of all meaning.


jesse said...

I am blessed to have such a wonderful Father, all my "feelings" with the word father are warm, not only as this helped prepare me to be a father, but also to develop me in the spiritual father. Dad I feel blessed to be your son. Happy Fathers Day

ded said...

Thank you, Jesse. And I am blessed to have you for a son!

Kim's Hotrod said...

I feel cheated, ded! You better find that essay! You advertised it five months ago, dangling it like a carrot in all of our collective (common) faces. You better make good! LOL.

Happy Father's Day. Today is the day we honor our fathers, but shouldn't be the day we, as fathers, abandon our fatherly duties for the sake of holiday. I say this more for myself than for anyone else, but it's words all of us fathers should hear.

Jimazing said...

Like kim's hotrod, I too am looking for a jackdabbity good essay in the future! What you have brought to us are great thoughts. I have so many ideas on this subject and they are so complex that I don't know how to get them out. It is so hard to boil down the truly complex subject of human communications without being too vague or assuming too much of your readers. I'm glad to see you wrestling with it.

I think a great difficulty behind the divided Christianity of which you speak is the "need" to agree or disagree. We tend to look for agreement first, when the first step really needs to be one of listening. Listening for the emotion and the meaning behind the words. The problem is that when someone says something to me, my emotions are stirred with thoughts of agreement or disagreement with what I thought he said and I'm now thinking about that instead of listening. Agree or not, I'm not listening.

I'm already in over my head with the thoughts that I want to express, but cannot get there in this limited time and space. Suffice it to say that I think we need a new paradigm of community and a new language to speak from the heart about the heart. Thanks for expressing your heart out loud. Hope you find the essay.

Happy Father's Day

Steve Sensenig said...

Happy Father's Day, David! I hope it was a blessed one for you.

I hope we get to fellowship with you again soon. I'm writing this from a hotel in DC, and we won't be back until next Saturday evening (or would that be "this" Saturday evening...the next one that happens -- how's that? hehe)

Blessings on you. And I'll be the first to say that it's ok if you can't find that essay. Grace abounds ;) (Although I really was looking forward to it....bummer. Oh well!)

Craig V. said...

I look forward to the lost post, but I'm also glad this one appeared. Our common humanity an area where we as Christians have become pretty shallow. Our interface to the world has become "We are the people who are doing it right, and you're doing it wrong". We are self professed experts on politics, science, education, child rearing, the environment and life in general. Yet, qualitatively speaking, our lives are just as messed up as are those of the people we criticize. Perhaps recognizing our common humanity, humbly before our Lord, is exactly the corrective that we need most.

ded said...

kim's hotrod and jimazing, sorry to disappoint. It probably isn't as worthy of publication as I remember anyway!

jim, you said, I think a great difficulty behind the divided Christianity of which you speak is the "need" to agree or disagree.

You are completely right! somewhere along the way some folks decided that one could only fellowship with others who believe exactly the same way. This idea took off. Probably as culture degenerated into never listening to anybody who didn't make us feel good about our beliefs by believing them with us. This goes way past our faith and down to forming groups around all driving the same vehicle or liking the same music. Never a less true assumption has so robbed so many!

We may or may not need a new paradigm of community. We do need larger, more godly hearts.

Steve, thanks for the Father's Day blessing and the same to you. My wife and children honored me to tears--it was humbling good.

craig v.,

...and if we learn to accept our commonness, can compassion for the lost and community of the brethren be far behind?