Every year around Mother’s Day we work to acknowledge the women who are hurting. We speak about being sensitive to those struggling with infertility, those who have suffered the loss of a child, and even those who have lost their mom. This acknowledgement is a positive development in the last decade or so. When I was a child I don’t feel like that hurt was talked about nearly as much and so I assume those who were hurting just hurt in relative quiet. I’m glad to see now how we are a bit quicker to recognize the struggles around us and look to offer some sort of comfort and inclusion.

But I was thinking, while we do this on Mother’s Day, it doesn’t seem we talk much about the same themes around Father’s Day. I suspect there are many reasons for this. One is that men often aren’t as vocal about their pain- perhaps to call attention to your wounds is subtly discouraged since men are told they need to be ‘strong’.  Also, our culture worships the idea of ‘mom’ more than the role of ‘dad’… and therefore the holiday is emphasized less in general. In our culture motherhood is often treated as the pinnacle of womanhood, whereas fatherhood is often not treated as a such an essential core for men.  We are quicker to demonize or minimize dads. Also, when it comes to things like miscarriage, women are typically more intimately caught up in the loss.

All these likely play a role, but that doesn’t mean that Father’s Day isn’t tough for a lot of men. I really can’t say I know for sure, but I’d suspect there are many men who hurt on some level on this day. So, that suspicion in mind, can I just say something to those of you who hurt?

For those who never had children, whether because of infertility, not finding a partner, or any other factor, and wish you had, may you feel a deep sense of peace and community.

For those who have lost a child, young or old, whether through miscarriage, abortion, an accident, or an illness, may you experience a deep sense of comfort and healing.

For those who have distant or estranged relationships with your children, whether because of family break up, relational hurts, or any other type of divisions or wrongs, may you be able to experience personal healing… and even reconciliation where appropriate and possible.

For those who feel forgotten, unappreciated, or obsolete, may you know that your significance lies in something deeper than whatever makes you feel unimportant right now. You are truly needed and loved.

And for all, both men and women, who hurt on Father’s Day because of hurt or distance from YOUR Father, may you also find a deep sense of peace and healing in your soul. For the many who have lost your Father, may you also feel deep comfort. May your heart turn to good memories and legacies from your Dad on this Father’s Day.