For Fathers Who Aren’t In Heaven

Sad stories are life’s reality. Several weeks ago I heard one sad story. It was told by a young man, but he did not even relayed it to me. I just overheard it.

We were in a youth camporee, and I went there as a supervising adult (see previous post). There were more than 300 boys and girls from several youth clubs that came to that camping.

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evening worship at the camp

One morning in the boy’s public bathroom, I was in one of the toilet stalls minding my own business. There was no phone signal in the camp, so I cannot surf the web on my smart phone to keep me entertained. I was just watching a small spider spinning his web at one corner of the stall.

(Sorry, this is my second post in a row that discuss something about restrooms. It is not my intention to turn this blog into a toilet talk, but just bear with me, for there’s a good point I want to make here, I promise.)

Then I heard people came to the restroom. I believe there were at least two boys who came in. While brushing their teeth and perhaps washing their faces at the lavatories, they started a conversation.

After some small talk and introducing themselves to each other, like their name and what youth club or place they came from, one boy opened up with a very personal information. I was not being nosy nor eavesdropping, but as the wash basins were just a few feet from the toilet stall I was in, I heard all their conversation.

“I never knew who my father is, for I never met him,” one boy confessed.

He added that he met his real mother when he was eleven years old, but her mother never told him who his real dad is. Then he said that his mother told him that she gave him away for adoption for he was a “blue baby” when he was born. “I was blue as a Smurf,” he quipped. Her mother thought that she cannot take care of him due to his condition, so she gave him away.

As a medical doctor, I know that “blue babies” have an anomaly in their heart or in their circulation causing poorly oxygenated blood to course into their arteries giving the bluish discoloration of their skin. Unless a life saving procedure or surgery is done immediately, they will not survive. Most likely this boy underwent such surgery.

I know this boy is a survivor. Yet he might had the corrective surgery to close a hole in his heart, but the void and longing in his heart for love, especially from a father he never knew, was never filled.

Like a priest inside a confession box, except that I was in a toilet stall, I heard all this heart-breaking confession of a young man without him seeing me. Most likely he didn’t even know I was there listening to his story. He is not aware that the walls, even the very private toilet walls, have ears.

I would like to break out from the stall I was in and give this young man a big hug, but given the situation and place, that may be deemed inappropriate. Perhaps even scandalous.

The thing is I know his first name, his age, where he is from, and what club he is a member of, but I never saw his face. By the time I was done with my business, and came out of the stall, the two boys were gone.

My heart was broken just listening to that sad story. I can just imagine what heartache that boy was feeling. I just hope he finds the love he was looking for even if he has no father. Though one thing for sure, “our Father who art in heaven,” loves him and I pray that he realized that.

This made me thinking, that fathers who aren’t in heaven, me included, have such a great responsibility. We may never change the world singlehandedly, but we are given this distinctive duty and privilege to make a positive impact in the precious lives of our children. And perhaps if all fathers will do that, then the world will change.

For you fathers who may be reading this, or for you young men or even boys who will be fathers some day, I hope we all rise up to this challenge.

Have a happy and meaningful Father’s Day.

3 thoughts on “For Fathers Who Aren’t In Heaven

  1. Since I worked at Philippines heart Center for Asia as a pediatric nurse for almost two years and have participated in many code blues I was reminded about those blue babies and children with different congenital heart defect brought to us to be under our care. These children need frequent visits to their cardiologist for health maintenance and regimen of medications daily whether they like it or not. Most of them don’t understand why and sometimes defy the supposedly normal part of their life like refusing to take their medicine and suffer the consequences later, and only then they will realize at their early age why compliance is a must. The peaceful shift were volatile to chaotic scenes almost daily and perhaps this is also the reason why I did not miss being a pediatric nurse and stay as a Critical Care nurse in the adult environment here in the US. The story of growing up without a father strums a lonely string when I look back on my younger years. I was 3 when our father passed away. I was not really lonely as a child but the sad reality of being fatherless confronted me on my teenage years. I don’t know what Fathers do so the “happy Father’s Day” is not in my vocabulary then. One day I saw a portrait or picture of my mother and siblings taken from a studio and saw my brother my sister with our mother holding a baby with a smile in their faces and dressed nicely, the photo gave me the impression that our father provides for his family and only then I started to appreciate our father. I heard that I was his favorite being the youngest but I resented that he left early. That one photo finally gave me peace and settled my heart knowing I also have a good father except that he died early at the age of 36 leaving six children with the eldest as a 12 year old lad for our mother to raise as a widow. (btw most of our family photos are destroyed by typhoons and some photos survived in the care of our other relatives) Now that I’m a mother married for 25 years, I know the value of a loving father. Happy Father’s Day to the fathers who rose up to the challenges of being a good father and great provider.

    • Thank you for sharing this. Your dad died at such a young age. That must be difficult for your young mother having to raise all of you kids alone. I cannot imagine growing up without a father. But I believe you and all your siblings turned up to be good children. I admire the strength of your mother, and all of you. Happy Father’s day to your husband.

      • One thing I learned growing up as fatherless is that God never back down on His promise. In the book of Deuteronomy 10:18 it says “God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing” If God’s eyes is on the sparrow there are also so many verses in the Bible that says the eyes of the Lord is upon the strangers the widow and the fatherless. Thank you again and Deo Gratias.

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