It is Fatherís Day, 2013, and a whole host of happy things are happening ó greeting cards, some sentimental, some humorous, gifts also, and maybe a nice breakfast or a lunch with dadís favorite dishes.
Perhaps there is more ó an outing to the beach, the park, a favorite play area or ball field. Family stuff, you know. Everyone is included, not just dad, and everyone has a special feeling that never goes away, no matter how long fathers, mothers and children live. It is stamped on the familyís psyche, indelible and life enriching. Holidays can do that.
Thatís the popular image of the day, and, hopefully, it is on the agenda for today for your life.
But such a day is not a universal reality. It never happened, for example, in my family of origin. Father disappeared early, never reappeared. Demons got him; demons that live in a bottle. Bad stuff, those demons. Horrible. Why society doesnít pay more attention to those demons is beyond my comprehension.
Enough of the preaching.
Letís return our attention to those households, rich and poor, that have no special cause to celebrate today. Dadís gone, for whatever reason, because of whatever circumstance.
Know this, though, children: the reason is never ó never ó because of you. The blame lives nowhere but in the weaknesses of adults.
It is a weakness that you must forgive sometime in your life ó the earlier the better. You will never fill that hole in your psyche until you do, and even that wonít bring dad back. What it will do is create within you strength and compassion that you need to bath those dark, unholy spots in light.
Confession time. It took me way too long to do that. I donít know exactly when that forgiveness came, but it was recently. Really recently ó sometime in the last several years. That means the lack of forgiveness took more than 70 years. A heavy burden being carried too many miles.
I am not exactly sure how forgiveness came, but it was an accumulation of realizations ó a realization that all of us are weak, an understanding that I am owed nothing save life, the knowledge that the many, many times I let it be known I was unhappy did nothing to lead to happiness to those around me and often distressed them. And there is now an awareness that seems to grow and grow that it is how I handle relationships is all that matters. That awareness is called faith.
Single-parent families have potential for hurting society ó unless the individual family members decide that such is not going to damage them.
It is as simple as that. It is a decision, sometimes hard to make, sometimes easy, but still only a decision.
Pulitzer Prize winning editor Dan Warner of south Fort Myers led newspapers in Massachusetts, Ohio and Maine. He formerly worked as a writer and editorial board member for The News-Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.