If you’ve seen the movie, The Princess Bride, you know the name Inigo Montoya. His lines, performed during a fabulous sword fight by the amazing Mandy Patinkin, have become iconic.
If you aren’t familiar (and you should be, so get that movie from Red Box), he spent years hunting down the six fingered man who killed his father. Upon finding him, he repeatedly stated, “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father, prepare to die!” Until he finally did kill that man.
When we land on Father’s Day, I have felt like shouting that phrase at something or someone using my best Inigo Montoya imitation. Have I mentioned my father died when I was 10 years old?
Now, I’m a bit older, and I’ve endured multiple Father’s Days. I used three main approaches to this day.
1. The “hide-out” approach.
If I didn’t acknowledge the day’s existence, it really didn’t matter.
2. The “get-out-of-my-face approach”.
Since many friends sought to reveal my hide-out and help me with my definite anger issues. They wanted me to focus thoughts and energies on the many father figures I had in my life. Their intensions were good, but I couldn’t receive them.
3. The “nanana- I’m-not-listening” approach.
When the do-gooders in my life wouldn’t be put off, I altered my stance. This one stuck around for quite a while. I could numbly walk around and create my own invisible force field, which I considered to be my protection from feeling the horendous pain of parental loss. That pain never goes away.
If you’ve lived through the death of a father, or he’s separated from you for reasons beyond your control, you know what I mean. Maybe you’ve found your own approaches to dealing with this day.
I could have stayed in my hiding places, but one day, something changed.
I was asked to speak in front of many people on Father’s Day, about Father’s Day. The friend who made the suggestion received multiple blades mentally tossed from my mind. But due to my respect for him, I acquieced to his request, though I was tempted to make a run for it.
I wondered what I could do, what could I say? My first thought was, “Father’s Day sucks, thanks for coming,” but I searched for a better tactic.
Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of taking any issue I struggle with to God. I learned I could talk with Him about anything and He never judges me. He’s the best listener, ever. He gives me guidance in unusual ways and it’s always fascinating to see Him at work.
So, I began digging through my Bible for any visual of a great Dad. My eyes became drawn to certain specific scriptures. When Jesus waited, knowing His arrest drew near, He prayed, “Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” Abba, was his way of expressing closeness to his father. Another time, He told the disciples to pray saying, “Our father in heaven…..”
Jesus claimed God as His father, but also invited us to accept Him as our father.
I had to sit and absorb that thought. Really soak it in.
Over the years, I’d known God as my best friend and confidant. His power couldn’t be surpassed, and I could appreciate Him as the King of Kings. But, I couldn’t comprehend Him as my father. Until now.
I remembered a song I loved to hear as a teen. It told the story of the prodigal son in a different way. Benny Hester sang of this boy returning home after having messed up on an immeasurable level. But rather than tell the story exactly as scripture shows in Luke 15:11-31, he sang as if it were God (the Father) greeting him when he returned home.
The song says, “The only time I ever saw Him run was when He ran to me, took me in His arms, held my head to His chest, said my son’s come home again. Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes and with forgiveness in His voice, he said, ‘Son, do you know I still love you?'”
As I write this, I hunted it up on YouTube. Click here to listen for yourself. The memories flooded back into my heart. I made that song and thought my own, you can too. I changed the word “son” to “daughter”, and it was mine.
The father I lost is still missed, but my heart lifted at a new thought. There was another Father first, one who offered guidance to mine whether he took it or not. One who cares deeply for me and you, and offers Himself in every way a father can.
He guides and encourages and strengthens and listens. God, the Father, is my father and always was.
While I understand and appreciate Inigo Montoya’s bitter pain, I choose not to embrace it for myself. So can you.
My Choice Today:
To accept the Father I’ve always had and appreciate the One who has been available for me from the beginning. I choose not to stay fatherless on Father’s Day.
Take the Father’s Day poll about your earthly father here: