A few years ago my daughter received her driver’s license. She passed both the written and the driver’s part on the first attempt. I was so proud because I taught her how to drive. I let her drive back to the high school she attends from the Department of Highways, but her skills were not where they needed to be. She kept hugging the right side of the road. I told her to move more to the center. She told me that it looked as if she were going to hit an oncoming car. I assured her that she would not. I instructed her to put the left nose of the car on the yellow line and keep it there. I told her that if she kept hugging the right side of the road she was going to hit a mailbox or a pothole. She wouldn’t listen and kept arguing with me as she was filled with fear of hitting another car. She kept asking why did she have to do what I said when to her it seemed I was wrong. Finally I said in the voice of my father: “Because I said so!” She did it and began to trust in what I had said and then it all became clear to her and the storm inside of her was calmed. I looked at her and said: “Dominica, it’s just an optical illusion.” Then I told her that life was an optical illusion sometimes too, and that when I say do what I tell you, it’s not because I want to cause you pain but because I love you enough to direct you on a path so that you won’t crash into another car both on the street and in her life. I told her that “because I said so” means “because I love you and you have to trust in my love.” Today she is a great driver but still not as good as I am. 🙂
In today’s readings we hear of God’s children filled with fear. Job is filled with fear and feels abandoned by God because of his suffering. In the Gospel reading, the Apostles are in a storm and filled with fear, and yet Jesus is sleeping right through it and not afraid because He has faith and trusts that God would not let them perish. In the verses from Job we hear of God’s awesomeness that awakens Job not to the answers of the question “Why?”, but awakens him to his own human limitations. How often when I was a teenager I thought I was smarter than my father. Then I became a parent and realized how much faith my father had and how truly wise he was. My father had wisdom beyond words, and even though I didn’t always agree, I had to trust that he was right. The Word of God today calls us to trust in our Father whose wisdom and love for us is beyond our human intellect. Because we can’t explain the universe and the reality of love, we have to come to recognize our limitations and give in to faith or else we will end up crashing, metaphorically speaking, into an oncoming car.
When I think of how much my earthly father loved me by adopting me and my other siblings, I am thankful for his sacrifice to provide us not only with a home, but also with a witness of faith and humility. My father believed in God present in each other, in the word and in the sacrament. He was humble enough to know his limitations yet strong enough to trust in the gift of wisdom to parent us with a strong hand and a compassionate heart.
As I grow older I become more aware of my limitations, both physically and intellectually. The more I learn the more I am faced with the truth that what I know is but a grain of sand and I have to T.R.U.S.T. that God has not abandoned us but is present. I believe God visits us and parents us constantly, but I can’t prove it intellectually or philosophically. But as I grow older I am conscious of my own reality and that I can breathe and talk and create and choose and I am alive in this amazing place we call earth and that is AWESOME, so I trust in an unseen God because my father said so.
So to all the fathers – I wish you a happy Father’s Day; and to all the teens – I hope you come to trust in the love of your earthly father (or those who are playing that role), and trust in the love of God our heavenly Father Who is present and visits us today in the person next to you and in the beautiful gift of the Eucharist.