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An ode to Father's Day

Father’s Day

We’ve had some bleak times

money related, depression prompted

just overwhelmed by the daily grind I suppose

times like most of us know.

Children still at home

I used to find little yellow sticky notes

when I opened my wallet

or under the lid of the tin

when I put tea leaves in the pot

or on my pillow

when I pulled back the spread.

I love you dad they said.

Be encouraged dad.

We’ll make it dad.

Remembering those little notes

will turn any day

into father’s day for me.

Little notes transformed by a child’s love

an alchemy that turns yellow paper into gold leaf.

Abba is Hebrew for daddy.

A few years ago I heard a small Israeli boy

on the street call out to his daddy abba abba

like, right out of the Bible.

Abba forgive them for they know

not what they do, said the God/man

Jesus as he hung bleeding

from his hands and his feet

so that us forgiven fathers can say abba too.

Post-it note to Abba:

Thank you dear God.

Abba, abba, daddy, daddy.

I, the image bearer, sharer

Father-in-heaven pointer

with forefinger wavering

extended toward heaven

but badly smeared with the gunk of my ego

my self preoccupation.

Post-it note to Abba:

Father forgive me.

Father, me, toggled by grace

called to be a God parable

for the little boy

and girl who hear my

careless words

and see my selfish acts

and somehow love me still

and God knows how

see some dim echo of the father of us all

and come to love him too.

Post-it note to Abba:

Thanks for the miracle.

And as time creeps across the calendar

years, and days I’ve squandered

spendthrift preoccupied spending

less with the little ones

than I presumed to imagine

but they with sincerity thank me

for all the times they had with dad

the walks and the reading aloud on the couch

and afternoons at the beach

and I post my note to Abba thankful

for returning the days

that the locusts had eaten.

So now the little running feet are my children’s

children and I see with joy their fathers’ attentive love

as they, I recognise with moistened eyes

rise to a father's high calling

with generosity and joy

and I pray that they

and fathers everywhere

will be warriors, valiant for truth

wise men with worthy words

respecters of women

courageous men with strength to fight

a tidal wave of evil cresting as popular good

attentive men who listen

to the intent of each small voice and hold it

in the hands of their heart like leaves of gold.

Sticky note to Abba:

Thanks for letting me be a dad.

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