It was Saint Joseph’s Day at Kaleb’s nursery school, a day to honor all the good dads out there, a day to study Saint Joseph, the patron saint of fathers, and to pray that all fathers emulate the values of this dearly beloved saint.
But when I first heard of Saint Joseph’s Day, I wanted to cry.
Questions About Honoring Fathers at Saint Joseph’s Day
Questions. Our life is full of questions now.
Would Kaleb be left alone?
Would his father show up?
What if he didn’t?
What if he did?
Part of me wished there was no Father’s Day celebration. I didn’t want to face the questions if Kaleb had no one there with him. I didn’t want to face the disappointment. I didn’t want to have to explain to anyone else, but most of all, I didn’t want to explain to Kaleb why his father wouldn’t be there.
But his father said he would be there.
I didn’t want to face the comments from the people who, after he makes his appearance, would state how great it is that he’s “still involved” or, worse, from one of my other boys who sadly said, “Dad looks mad in all my nursery school pictures.”
But reality is, in this, like in many things over the past five years,
I had no say.
And that might be a good thing.
To be honest, I did think about not telling my ex about Saint Joseph’s Day. I really did.
God, please forgive me.
But we must all try to do the right thing. I don’t always succeed, but I must try.
And, whether I liked it or not, I had to tell him simply because it was the right thing to do.
Which left me with a choice.
I could choose to let the anger and bitterness, the hurt and the confusion, the exhaustion and worry rule over my day,
Or I could choose to hope.
Hope that my ex, my children’s father, would hear something in that day that would help him become the father he was meant to be,
the man he was meant to be.
Maybe my ex would learn of…
Saint Joseph’s kind heart,
his devotion to Mary even in times of trouble,
his strength of commitment,
his integrity in keeping his word,
his unwavering faith in the Lord,
his strength and determination,
his love for the son Jesus.
If I’d had a choice, I knew my way would have been different with different outcomes.
My way would leave my ex outside the circle of faithful strong fathers and husbands.
My way would cut him off from role models living the values he’s forgotten – or never really understood.
My way would never allow him to grow beyond what he is now.
My way would never show my children the healing power of forgiveness.
My way would keep Kaleb from studying Saint Joseph as he did.
My way would take real role models from Kaleb, preventing him from learning about what a good father really is.
My way would not celebrate the MANY wonderful fathers out there worthy of celebration.
My way would be no good long term.
Saint Joseph was chosen by our heavenly Father to foster-father Jesus here on earth, what greater man could today’s fathers model themselves after – other than Jesus Christ of course!
I could choose to hope my ex would take to the Lord today.
My ex-husband is no Saint Joseph!
But I am no Blessed Virgin Mary either!
He is not the man he was made to be.
But I am not the woman I was made to be either.
And if I want forgiveness, then I must forgive.
And I must hope.
I can hope and pray that, as each day comes to a close, each of us grows closer to the person God wants us to be than we were when the day began.
And because of that, I would choose to spend a bit of my time praying for my ex husband – that God has buried some good that I can’t see yet, for my boys – that they grow to be men like Saint Joseph, and for all the fathers around the world – that one day we all join our one perfect Father in a place where there is no suffering.
Thank you to all the wonderful fathers out there, and a special thank you to the gentle, humble, patient, strong Saint Joseph for all you’ve given us.
A good father is priceless and irreplaceable.
Please take a moment to pray for all the world’s fathers.