a Father’s Day reflection a day in advance

William John AbernathyWilliam John Abernathy (August 7, 1911-April 27, 1996)

My father and I had a complicated, at times, tempestuous relationship. Probably, I think and feel (and after years of reflection, more clearly and more surely), because we were so very much alike in so many ways…

Inquiring of mind and inveterate, sometimes obsessive questioners of and about everything and everyone.

Emotive of heart and soul and expressively, energetically opinionated.

Iconoclastic of spirit, coupled with an almost inbred and easily aroused skepticism about the machinations of institutions.

Though given to following his own proverbial drummer, in time and in tune with his internal rhythm and tone, my father always sought, yet never quite realized the validating acceptance of the world about him that he craved. I behold in my life, verily, bear the cross of a similar disharmony.

My father and I, again and again freely, effortlessly exchanging the roles of overwhelming force and immovable object, clashed. Often.

Still, my father loved me. Yes, with a love of human limitations; the kindness and care of which capable of being conditioned by his temperament and his temper. Yet, too, with a love unconditional in one most salient and significant respect. No matter who or where I was, geographically or existentially, or what I said or did (or didn’t say or do), my father never stopped loving me. Never.

And I love him. Always.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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4 thoughts on “a Father’s Day reflection a day in advance

  1. My father and I also had a complicated relationship. He loved me and abused me. I loved him and I hated him. When he had finally gone home to God, I was able to release him, even forgive him. I was finally able to see him without illusion or hope. It was a gift that aided my own healing. My father was a great man, despite his many faults. He was a master of many trades, a seemingly inexhaustible source of information and wisdom. I do miss him. And I will always love him.

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    • Thank you, my dear sister Sandy, for your most poignant reply. “When he had finally gone home to God, I was able to release him, even forgive him…(and) to see him without illusion or hope.” I believe in my experience with my father you have spoken well for me, for in his dying and my ongoing wrestling and reflecting, I was able to arrive and remain in a different, healthier place. Thank you. Love

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  2. Dear Paul,

    What a wonderfully honest and loving tribute to your dad!!! Love and Forgiveness – both given unconditionally allows us to accept the person, flaws and all and realize something really important – that the person never stopped loving us. Given the many stories over the years that you’ve shared about your dad, I applaud where you are today!! Your ability to focus on the positive attributes of your dad (and yourself) says to me that you’ve grown in ways that maybe long ago you didn’t think possible.
    I also love all of the photos you’ve shared of your youth and early ministry because it shows the decades of relationships with your parents and with Wayne, which I’m sure can be very comforting to you today. I’m thrilled that you honor you father on this early Father’s Day! For me it’s like a Father’s Day gift to yourself!

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  3. “A Father’s Day gift to (my)self”. Indeed, I believe you are right. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but your words resonate within me, telling me that you’ve touched on an inner truth for me. Thank you for your blessed insight. Much love

    Liked by 1 person

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