Father’s Day: The Gap

Our reunion day will come, I am confident of that, but the gap is not easy.” —Joe Pighetti

Father’s Day, for many, is a day when the gap is not easy. 

Whether it’s been many years or a few days since we hugged the fathers in our lives, there is an obvious gap on this day, magnified by social media posts and photos, billboards and television ads. 

The role of a father is one that is hard to fill completely. We try – we learn to fix things that normally the father of the house would. Or, we admit defeat and ask for help. We teach our children things that the father would have probably done better. We take over the stereotypical father duties, hoping that the absence isn’t too obvious. We tell the stories and jokes that they told better than us.  We imagine what they’d be doing today if they were here. We remind ourselves that we are doing ok. But today, the gap is not easy. 

We can celebrate fathers – the ones we were born into, the ones that raised us, the ones that become fathers, the ones that partner with us while raising kids, the ones we gain by marrying into, the ones that are fatherly to us and the ones we see as inspiring fathers.  But today, the gap is not easy for the ones we are missing. 

Today we think of the gap – the time without those beloved fathers. We think about what those missing fathers are missing. Fishing, hunting, grilling, boating, golfing, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, watching children grow, tough talks with children, teaching how to fix things, discipline decisions, teaching kids to ride bikes and waterski, tossing a football around, making long-term goals and sharing dreams, being by our side helping, partnering, advising, hugging and cheering us on. There is so much more that is being missed – every day. The gap is not easy. 

Today, though,  I am also feeling lucky. I have three earthly fathers – my own (Pat)  and two fathers gained by marriages (Phil and Mike). I also have fatherly figures to me and my kids – cousins, uncles, brother, neighbors, Scout leaders and friends.  The gap exists for me due to the death of my husband, Kevin. Today I am thinking of friends who have lost their own fathers or women who have also lost husbands who are fathers to their children. To not be overwhelmed by the gap, I think of fathers who help to fill it. 

To anyone feeling a gap today, I want to remind you of the most loyal Father of all, God. He has placed these fathers in our lives to help fill the gap. And He will never leave us. He will provide gap-fillers in our time of need. He gives us the hope that the gap will not last long. He provides us with memories that result in tears but also smiles.  The gap is not easy, but it’s not so wide after all. 

Happy Father’s Day…may you feel blessings in the gap.

Join me: three steps to getting back on track…

Are you on a hiatus (or procrastinating) from something you thought you’d have done by now?

Sometimes we are on a certain path, our goals are defined and we are on our way to achieve them. And then…life happens. We get distracted or displaced, our priorities shift and we have to put some dreams or projects on hold. Can you relate?  Maybe it was a choice to shift priorities and not pursue those goals for a while, or maybe it was forced due to a change in finances, jobs or family situations. 

The goals you had might be something large like completing a renovation, starting a new business, researching new job paths, losing weight, gaining muscle, eating healthy, being free of debt or writing a book. Or, the goals might not be life-changing but equally as important to you such as decluttering a room, making a photo book for your children, planting a garden, learning a new language or skill or knitting a blanket for grandbabies. What is a project or goal that you’ve put on the back burner? 

Once that project gets put on hold and time passes it can be even harder to pick it back up again. We wonder, what if I start it and then have to stop again? Can I really make it happen now? 

If you’d like to get back on track, here’s how to start: 

  1. Redefine your goals. Write them down. Pen and paper. What is it that you want to get done? It might not look the same as it did before and that’s ok. Write down your “why.” Why do you want to get it done? What joy, accomplishment or freedom will it bring you? It’s important to keep this reason front and center because it will mean more than just checking off a task on a list. Why not? Why isn’t this project getting done? If you can identify the real hurdles, that will help. Maybe it’s lack of prioritizing time, maybe it’s lack of funds, maybe it’s fear. (Spoiler alert: fear is a very common roadblock!)
  1. Get support. List who that support can come from and reach out. Whether your goals involve someone else or it’s just for you, who can you lean on for support? Try to think of at least a few people for each goal. If it’s a financial goal, maybe you meet with a financial advisor for guidance, or find an online tool that will help you track expenses. Maybe it is having an accountability partner that will check in and ask how your project is coming. Maybe it’s your family and you need their cooperation and “buy in” to help support your dream; express specific ways in which you need their help and what the end result will bring to all of you. Maybe it is someone that will pray you through the process – perseverance and accomplishment. Last, but certainly not least, ask God to help you! He hears you and will help guide you to where He knows you need to be. 
  1. Take the first step. Sometimes the first step is a large one. In other cases the first few steps are small and quick. Whether you take one big step or a few small ones, you’re on your way. Be proud of yourself! It takes courage to get back on track and not give up. The timeline might look different than before and maybe you’ve made some alterations to your original plan or detoured but you’re back on the road.

Once you’re back on track, 

  • circle back often to your #1 (What & Why) to keep you motivated. 
  • Circle back to your #2 (Support) to persevere and ensure you’re not in this alone. 
  • Keep returning to #3 (Steps) to reach those milestones no matter how big or small. Big goals can seem overwhelming but if you keep chipping away and celebrating little victories you’ll be successful. 

Tell me, what is your project or goal that is on hiatus?  

I’ll share mine ~ if you share yours!