Today in the USA we celebrate Father’s Day. I feel very blessed to be the dad of two outrageously great boys! I feel a similar sentiment to Solomon who wrote in Psalm 127,
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
If you have been following my blog, you know that my oldest boy is with me journeying across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago. I’ll say more about him later in this post. Today I am missing my younger son who is 11 and is on holiday with his mom (and my wife ❤️) in Nashville visiting his aunt. While he is not much of a walker, trekker, or hiker, I am sure here are parts of our journey that he would really enjoy – especially the interactions with so many interesting people from around the world (he is our card-carrying extrovert!) He also brings a lot of joy through his ability and need to make most everything in life a game. The photos of my boys above illustrate that, in that neither of them wears glasses like their mom and dad, but when Caleb put my glasses on yesterday, and then texted the silly photo back home, our other son answered back with his own version of the silliness. “I am missing you today, son, and glad we got to say ‘hi’ on the phone today!”
Regarding Caleb, who is with me on this pilgrimage, I have written from the beginnings of our journey that we believe this is as much for him as it is for me. When I was talking with a friend before coming over to Spain about how poorly Western culture does rites of passage, he recommended a book to me that Caleb and I have been reading out loud to one another on this trip by Richard Rohr called “Adam’s Return.”
I have read other things by Rohr, and this book is proving to be equally enriching and challenging. Caleb may say some things about what he is learning in a future post, but I’ll share one quote that I have been reflecting on that has a strong ring of truth to me:
If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it in some form. If we do not learn this all-important spiritual lesson, at least one, maybe all, of the following things will happen: 1. We will become inflexible, blaming, and petty as we grow older. 2. We will need other people to hate in order to expel our inner negativity. 3. We will play the victim in some form as a means of false power. 4. We will spend much of our life seeking security and status as a cover-up for lack of a substantial sense of self. 5. We will pass on our deadness to our family, children, and friends.
God has been doing some deep things in my own soul as I sit with Rohr’s observation. Some of it is very hard to look at, but at the same time there is a beauty in knowing that Christ wants to transform and use the pain I experience. As Rohr continues to observe, “Our wounds are the only things humbling enough to break our attachment to our false self and strong enough to make us yearn for our true self.” May both Caleb’s and my true selves become more visible as we two wounded pilgrims enjoy limping along together.
Regarding our present Camino adventures, Thomas (our traveling friend and fellow dad) and I decided our Father’s Day gift to one another should be a true “0” day tomorrow. We are in San Vicente, and discovered that the albergue is closed. However, we found a delightful hotel for pilgrims with a private room for 3, shower and bath tub(!), as well as kitchen privileges for 13 euros each. And the hostess said we can stay two nights! We highly recommend “Libreria Anjana” to our fellow pilgrims staying in this town. Tomorrow we explore the town, including an 8th century castle, and lie out on the beach!
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads!