This past Sunday morning, I accompanied a visiting team from Cincinnati to Casa Hogar Douglas in the morning for church. This is the seventh Father’s Day that I have lived here in Mexico, but for some reason it really began to dawn on me throughout the morning what a depressing day this must be for the children we serve. How sad must it be to acknowledge a day separated out to celebrate fathers for a child who doesn’t live with their father, for a child who most likely can’t remember the last time they saw him, or for a child who quite possibly never had the chance to known him at all?
So we arrived at the Casa Hogar and I pointed the group in the direction of the chapel. As I began walking up the hill towards the chapel I was almost holding my breath. I could not help but wonder if Father’s Day would even be mentioned, if it would be the proverbial elephant in the room, or if we would just go about our business serving them as if it were any old day of the year?
We filled the seats in and around the children from Douglas and the worship leader began with his normal Sunday greetings. Shortly after saying “Good morning” he popped the question that I had feared he might. I literally felt myself hold my breath as he asked, “Who knows what today is?” Of course they likely knew the answer to the question, but I couldn’t help but wonder what must be going through the minds of the seventy abandoned children that filled the chapel that morning.
Were they feeling sad? Was some part of them angry? Did they feel like that got ripped off in the Dad Department? How could they begin to wrap their minds around something that I as an adult barely understand myself? What exactly is there to celebrate on Father’s Day when you don’t have a dad?
Then the unexpected happened as the worship leader instructed those seventy children to look around them, to locate a dad in the room, and to go and give them a big hug. I couldn’t believe what I began to witness. On tip toes and with wide eyes the children began to look around, and then they dispersed themselves throughout the crowd. All of a sudden it wasn’t about them, or what they were missing out on so to speak, but it was about them wanting to bless someone else in the room. And let me tell you – I was blessed that morning. As more than half a dozen kids made their way to the corner where I was standing. One by one they embraced me, and wished me a Happy Father’s Day – and the same thing was happening to other dads all across the congregation.
What an amazing Father’s Day it was. I’m not sure why I should be surprised – it is just like God, really. He used a room full of fatherless children to bless a handful of Fathers in a way that none of us will soon forget.