The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:8-18 (NIV)
Don’t panic. It is not Father’s Day, yet. That’s in June, but last night’s graduation ceremony could have been Father’s Day as far as I am concerned. Husband and youngest son’s relationship has been rocky in the past. It is because they are so much alike that they think and act the same ways. Seeing yourself in someone else, particularly things you don’t like, is a hard thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, they are strong, compassionate, hardworking and loyal men. That can also be translated to stubborn, interfering, driven and set in their ways. We have had some knock down drag outs in our house over the years. At one time, we even had a hole punched into our bathroom door. I won’t say who did it, but it was someone who should have known better. I was usually the one shrieking and flinging myself between the two of them. That kind of behavior just escalated the disagreement. Remember, both are loyal and compassionate if not knuckleheads so “Don’t mess with my wife!” Don’t mess with my mom!” only hurt the situation. Husband saw so much of himself and his mistakes and regrets in youngest son that it was difficult for him to separate his feelings from his past. Husband grew up in an era when no one diagnosed learning disabilities. Kids were just lazy or stupid. We all carry around the words spoken over us by some teacher, friend or parent. Not all are blessings, many are curses. Sometimes, when talking about youngest son, the words husband heard spoken about himself flowed out again though directed at his child. I know husband always regretted it, but it is a difficult thing to stop years of negative thinking. So, for a long time, there was a wedge between father and son that even a mom’s love could not overcome. As youngest son matured and made wise choices and husband realized his son was his own person, that gap has healed and now, their relationship is strong and almost whole. They actually enjoy hanging out together. So, last night’s ceremony was an emotional one for my husband. When youngest son came onto the stage, husband stood clapping. When he walked forward to get his diploma, husband cheered. And when at the end of the ceremony, the entire senior class stood at attention and then, put on fake mustaches, he laughed. He was okay until we got into the car to drive to the pizza party. Then, he broke down and began to cry. I doubt that there is a woman in the world who can stand to watch her husband cry. We’ll do our best to make it stop. Yet, this time, I let the tears flow because I knew that each drop brought reconciliation and blessing. I cried with him. Then, we both bowed our heads and thanked God for a legacy of blessings instead of curses and a son who will be even greater than his dad.