Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A Father's Love
Among the thousands of casualties, a 6-year-old boy named Armand was missing. Armand's father, knowing his son was at school the time the earthquake hit, raced to the collapsed structure. Climbing to the top of the pile, Armand's father began to pull off the shattered mud bricks. The sharp corners of the bricks sliced up his hands as he carried them down the pile and tossed them aside. He continued to offload the bricks without pause.
Every time people would try to stop him and tell him it's useless, he'd reply: "Join me or leave me alone! Join me or leave me alone!" Well after forty-seven hours of continuous digging he heard a voice: "Daddy, is that you?" Armand's father burst out with joy as he found his son (along with his classmates) huddled together under collapsed walls. Armand kept telling his school companions: "I told you my daddy would come! I told you my daddy would come!" And indeed he came - a father's unfaltering love.
I'm both delighted and saddened by this story. As you can guess, I count myself among the men who are like Armand's father - absolutely and unfalteringly dedicated to my children not out of duty, but out of true love. I know I'll come through for my kids as long as there's any spark of life left in me. I'll come through for them in dire emergency, like this earthquake, but also in mundane daily living. There's a certain dignity and beauty in that too.
But I'm also saddened when I think of the converse of this situation. I know so many people, adult friends and little kids alike, who have been deeply wounded by a father who's love and presence faltered or disappeared altogether. These friends of mine, even as they go forward through life with a bright smile on their face, hide a deep and intense hurt inside them that impacts everything they do and every relationship they have. My heart goes out to them...