A Father’s Day prayer

I spent a few hours yesterday watching my 19-month-old granddaughter play on the floor with her dad while we adults talked: laughing giddily when he bounced her on his legs, commanding him to kiss the tiny imaginary “baby” she rocked in her arms, playing a surprisingly physical game that involved sliding an ice cube up and down the grooves in a metal coffee table, and occasionally throwing her harms around his neck and chanting, “hug, hug, hug!”

Of course I was charmed. One of the most beautiful kids in the world, and one of the best dads. Blessings upon blessings this Father’s Day.

It made the sadness I felt for all those fathers and children who are apart from each other this day all the more poignant. Of course the kids at the border, who did nothing to deserve the terrible thing that is happening to them. But also dads and kids serving their country in far-away places, and those who have lost their lives in service to others. Those whose lives were taken by gun violence closer to home. Those separated by the plague of addiction. Those whose fathers have been unable, for whatever reason, to provide the love and stability they needed. Those remembering fathers who lived long and happy lives, for whom Father’s Day will always be a reminder of both love and loss.

Thank you, God, for all who show a father’s love in our world … for those who are special to us … be close to those who are sad today.