Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Desperately seeking Superman

On Monday I met a stranger for coffee. He had been in touch because he knew it was my birthday, so we agreed to meet. Neither of us knew what to expect, after all, we didn't know one another.

I arrived at our agreed coffee shop, (If I was going to have an alien encounter I was going to do it round one of my favourite things, a kind of caffeine infused safety net). As I scanned the people an ageing man rose from is chair and called me over. I looked at the strange man, he looked familiar, like looking into a leathery mirror; "Hi dad", I said. He went to shake my hand but pulled me close, 'one hug in ten years wasn't gonna hurt' I thought...

We chatted about my life in London, what I was learning and about my hopes for the future, he seemed genuinely interested if not a little shell shocked that the spotty sixteen year old had moved on so much! I asked him about his life, not too much to tell, quite lonely I thought... But that's the path he chose a long time ago. After about 90 mins I began to wind things up, there was going to be no recriminations, no anger... not this time. I can't go on hating him I thought, those 90 mins were about an unspoken forgiveness (maybe one day I'll say it).

A very dear friend calls his dad 'superman'... I used to resent that, but now I love it! My dad isn't 'superman', he's not even 'sufficiently adequate man' and sometimes that's hard to come to terms with, but I'm slowly learning two very important lessons!

First, that God is the ultimate standard of Fatherhood. He loves his children with a passionate, unending, Calvary-saturated love. He is the father to the fatherless and the one who will in the end rejoice and sing over all his children (what a sound that will be)!

Secondly, I find that this experience kindles a desire in me that while I never had 'Superman' maybe one day, by God's grace, a child of my own will see the 'S' on my chest and I will have the privilege of pointing them to the one after whom all Fatherhood derives it's name!