Prayer for a Complicated Father's Day

Silhouette of man walking child up steps with sky in the background.

Holidays are complicated, especially the ones named after roles. Human relationships are messy, including relationships with people who are honored by holidays.
For a lot of people, Father’s Day brings up feelings of grief for fathers who were lost, or who couldn’t be there, or who chose not to be there.
Father’s Day might bring up feelings of sorrow or regret for people who want(ed) to be fathers and haven’t been able to, or who haven’t been able to be the fathers they wanted to be for their kids.
Today might be a day of divided loyalties for people who may have called more than one person “Father” or “Dad” in the course of their lives.
Then there are the people (of a variety of genders) who are father figures, step-parents, and mentors for young people, but who don’t get the recognition they deserve, today or any day.
On the other hand, Father’s Day can be joyful and sweet, remembering the times when dads or granddads or role models were there for us. For people who have a positive relationship with a living father figure, today may very well include happy phone calls, funny greeting cards, and tacky ties. For contented new fathers, today might be full of wonder and hope as they get used to their new title.
And, for a lot of people, there will be a mix. Even the best dads fall short sometimes. Some fathers who struggle still have their shining moments. Nothing is simple.
So, here’s my prayer: May we be grateful for the nurturing we have received in our lives, from sources both hidden and obvious. May we heal from the losses highlighted by Father’s Day. May we nurture each other and the generations to come. May the friendship and love we have in our lives today ease the pain and amplify the positive memories of our past. May this be a day of reconciliation and peace.