Community Conversations

Forgiving your father - even if it’s painfully difficult. It will help you heal

Adam Johnson Sr., Bea Hines’ father. She reconnected with her father as an adult, and was very glad she did.
Adam Johnson Sr., Bea Hines’ father. She reconnected with her father as an adult, and was very glad she did. Bea Hines

Today, I want to wish all our fathers a warm and happy Father’s Day.

So often we read about men who are not worthy to be called father. But I know of so many men who have gone beyond the call of duty, so to speak, to care for children who are not their own, or whose father doesn’t care enough to be involved in their lives. Today, I salute you.

There are many kinds of fathers.

I salute those fathers who are teachers and who have to take on the extra roll of being a surrogate father to their students.

I salute those neighborhood men, who although they have children of their own, take it upon themselves to step in to help a fatherless child.

And I salute the spiritual fathers, who head houses of worship with all the responsibility that goes with that job, and yet find the time to counsel and encourage the fatherless in their congregations.

When I was growing up, our dad was an absentee father. My brother Adam, and I didn’t even have a relationship with him until we were young adults with children of our own.

It was at that time we felt we should put aside our anger and bitterness toward him for what he did or didn’t do for us, to let him get to know his grandchildren. It was the right move.

On one particular Father’s Day, my brother and I decided to spend the day with our dad. We loaded our children in our cars and drove to where our dad lived in Central Florida, and took him and his wife to dinner. It was a sad, and yet rewarding time for us.

Dad was so overwhelmed with our visit that he couldn’t eat. He kept his head bowed to keep us from seeing his tears. Men from his era didn’t show that kind of emotion.

He never said why he was crying, but my brother and I knew: Dad was crying over the lost years he had missed out with us — our graduations, my wedding, the birth of our children.

We understood. We had already forgiven Dad a hundred times over. We were there that day because we wanted him to know we loved him in spite of whatever happened in the past. We wanted to wipe the slate clean.

Our reaching out to Dad was our way of letting him know that he was forgiven. And our lives were better because we made the effort to meet with our dad on his special day to let him know we loved him. It was a trip worth taking.

Dad’s been gone nearly 20 years. I still miss him and wish we could have had more time together. But I am thankful for the time we did have with him. And I believe the experience of growing up without a dad helped my brother to be the kind of dad to his children he wished he had had.

I don’t know how many estranged dads and children will read my column today. I am praying that my little story of forgiveness will reach the heart of some son or daughter or father, who is having a hard time being reconciled with their loved ones.

My advice to you is, just do it. Life is too short to hold grudges. Maybe you feel that you suffered so much pain from your dad that you can’t forgive him. But you can, if you understand that not forgiving is keeping you from having the full and happy life you deserve. Forgiving actually is for you. It will make you healthier and happier, because once that burden of unforgiveness is lifted, you will feel so much better.

Children need their fathers, no matter how old they are. Fathers need their children, too. So on this Father’s Day, if you are holding out on forgiving your dad for something he has done to you, try a little forgiveness. Maybe your dad is no longer alive. Forgive him anyway. And maybe he is alive, but doesn’t want to speak to you. Forgive him anyway. You will be the better for doing so.

Summer Concert

“A Summer Medley,” a variety of songs from the classics to contemporary, will be performed by the Miami Oratorio Society at it Summer Variety Concert, 5 p.m. on June 23 at the Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church, 495 NW 191st St.

The concert will be the Oratorio Society’s final performance of the 2018-2019 concert season. Directed by Andrew Anderson, the choir will be accompanied by pianist Karl Van Richards, and will perform music from composers such as Mendelssohn and Bach, to contemporary and gospel pieces.

Guest soloists will be Joanne Martinez, soprano; Emilia Acon, mezzo soprano; Lievens Castillo, tenor; and Daniel Snodgrass, baritone.

Advance tickets are $25 and $30 at the door and $10 for youths ages 10-17. For information, contact Gloria Christian at 954-882-2242 or Judy Feldman at 305-610-0500, or go to www.miamioratorio.org.

Graduation service

The community is invited to Graduation Sunday on June 23 at Universal Truth Center for Better Living, 21310 NW Third Ave., Miami Gardens. Service starts at 8 a.m. with Adult Sunday School. Sunday worship is from 9:50 to 11:30 a.m.

The Rev. Charles Taylor will preach on “Serving the World with Love.” The order of service will also include the Chaplain Installation Service.

A treat for dads

It was “close shave” time at the Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children, when proud pre-kindergarten graduates shared the spotlight with their dads at a special pre-Father’s Day celebration on June .

The graduation was at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 601 SW Eighth St. Following the graduation ceremony, the blind children applied shaving cream to their fathers’ faces, giving the children a “multisensory” experience. A master barber then treated the dads to a special shaving experience.

Looking for sneakers and socks

Trinity Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St., has a new Outreach Closet ministry, where members collect and distribute new or very lightly worn men’s and women’s sneakers and white socks. The sneakers and socks will be sorted by size and kept in the Outreach Closet in Cathedral Hall to be available to the needy in the community.

If you wish to donate, you may leave your items in Cathedral Hall, or drop them off at the Cathedral office during the week.

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