Celebrating Father's Day this past Sunday made me realize how much unexpected and unrecognized pain surrounds so many of our most familiar holidays. We dream of a picture perfect day where everyone has smiling faces and happy hearts. We often miss the suffering just beneath the surface.
Within my own small sphere of friends and family I thought of six separate circumstances that were far from the perfect image.
I thought of my dear father who has lost his only son and namesake at the age of 27.
I thought of my friend who had just lost his father to the devastating ravages of cancer.
I thought of a delightful new young friend whose father had abandoned her as a child.
I thought of my stalwart lifelong friend whose husband had ripped apart their young family to pursue an affair with another woman.
I thought of another faithful friend who lost her beloved father within one day of losing her mother.
I thought of my friend who lost her father to suicide several years ago.
I feel such a weight of sadness as I think of the pain each of these people has to endure in the depths of their hearts and souls. I wish I had done more to honor and be sensitive to that pain. I pray that in the future I will see more clearly the wounds that surround me that I might in some small way be able to lessen the load of sadness or bring a glimpse of hope and healing to ease the pain. I pray for the grace to be kind and remember that each person I meet carries their own heavy burden.