The Person of Father

Donald Miller is a writer of "religious" or spiritual material that reflects (at least in this one book) on the meaning of fatherhood and how that permeates one's notion of God.

from Father Fiction
Donald Miller

And conversely, you can't blame a kid for feeling unwanted if his father takes off.   If you think about it, God gives a father a specific instinct that makes him love his kid more than anything in the world. I suppose that same instinct was floating around my father's brain, too, but for whatever reason he took one look at me and split. Even the instinct God gave him wasn't strong enough to make my dad stay. And that has made me feel, at times, there is this detestable person living within my skin who makes people feel as though they must carry me on their backs. Walking through the park one night I realized I was operating out of a feeling of inferiority. Deep inside, I believe life was for other people--that joy was for others and responsibility was for others, and so on and so on. In life there were people who were meant to live and people who were accidentally born, elected to plod the globe as the despised.

These thoughts are illogical, I realize. There isn't any proof that a guy who grows up in a family with a good dad is any better than a guy who grows up in a family with a bad one. Still a logical argument isn't able to change the heart. My mind knew there was nothing wrong with me--that the problem was the message my father handed down--but this knowledge didn't make me feel any more secure. For many years all I could do in the healing process was recognize I felt inferior and tell myself this feeling was a lie. For a long time, I couldn't go any further than this.

While his style can be annoying and his facts suspect (the father "instinct"--I don't think so) his intent is clear and the message he conveys throughout the book is a strong one--especially for the many who have made it through life with either no father at all or a father who, while present physically was never available in any meaningful way to be a guide.

But my prime reason for the quotation occurs at the end of the first paragraph.  I have met many who seem to feel the way he describes here--life was meant for others, existence is all I can ask for.  And that is a shame--no one, absolutely no one should feel that way about themselves and if there is anything at all we can do to change it, one of the greatests kindnesses and gifts we can give, is to do that anything.


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