Father’s Day is supposed to be the day where we hug our dads and tell them we love them. It’s supposed to be the day where we laugh, do something outside, and share the joy of family. Even if we aren’t very close with our dads, it’s a day where we at least think about them.
As I search through my blurry tears for the words to say right now, I think I just need to tell the truth: At age 19, I brought a little boy into this world, and I still haven’t met him. There’s a 9-year-old boy out there who hasn’t met his dad before.
We share the same blue eyes and squinty smile. He has the same blonde hair I had when I was his age. He loves sports, he can light up a room, and he’s a deep thinker – just like me.
I was a Freshman at Samford University – 8 hours from home, free from the overbearing voice of my own father, with an incredibly ambitious heart. I made a ton of new friends, I joined a fraternity, and I partied as much as possible. While all my actions had consequences, I simply didn’t care. I got fired from jobs for not showing up, my grades slipped, my parents took my car, and still…I didn’t care. This was college, and nobody was going to tell me how to live my life.
In late June of 2007, I got a phone call that rocked my world. My girlfriend was pregnant. (Out of respect for her as the loving mother of my son, I’m going to skip the details.) Let’s just say…she saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself. I was a party animal, I was unreliable, and I had no direction in life. Did I do my best? Yes. I honestly did. However, I was lost, and I was not fit to be a dad, a husband, or even a boyfriend. She moved on, and I was asked to stay away. (And please don’t cast judgment. She did the right thing.)
I felt rejected and alone. I continued college, and I buried my every emotion. I began to party even harder, and I kept my secret to myself. On the outside, nothing phased me – I smiled, I laughed, I kept my friends, and I made it through college. But on the inside…I was a wreck. I no longer had words for my feelings. All I felt was darkness and anguish. I’d let people into my life, and when they got too close, I’d vanish.
Time passed, and my lifestyle didn’t change. I kept on smiling, making new friends, partying every night, getting new jobs, new girlfriends, and finding new places to live. But I never for a moment forgot my secret. I am a dad, and I carry that everywhere I go.
My dear friends, I’m still very broken on the inside. There’s a little boy out there, and he’s a part of me. I can feel it when he smiles, and I can feel it when he’s hurting. He’s my first thought when I wake, and he’s the reason I live with purpose.
There’s beauty in all of this. It means I have something to look forward to. I have a reason to keep doing my very best, because one day, I will meet my son. I dream daily of our embrace. God isn’t finished with me yet. This is just the beginning of something wonderful, and I consider it all a blessing. Happy Father's Day. Every day has meaning to someone. Be loving. Be kind. And be thankful. Because life is beautiful - every broken part of it.