God is a single parent. Single fathers are limited by their lack of femininity. A masculine will, untempered by a girl’s will, gives rise to cruel empires. The kingdoms of man rise and fall, while the victims are comforted by a mother’s love.

A father is a forceful will. A mother is a comforting embrace.

The father’s will is smoky to the eyes, it tattoos a child. A father’s will compels journeys, exploration, transformation; one must leave home to find home. The father’s will accepts nothing less than a body and soul tested by deep waters, by night watch and winter harvest. The father’s will creates a lone person, a boy or girl continually tested, hungry and secure in self-doubt.

The Creator has a forceful opinion about the way the world should be. His will is narrow; unyielding. It draws humanity to life. The will of the father heals. His presence comforts, gives strength and resolves questions. Being a lone with the father, to have him alone is the will of every child.

By the Light of my Father’s Smile       -Alice Walker

“Manuelito had given me a silver belt rather, it was a leather belt that was covered with small silver disks. He’d made it himself. I kept it in bed with me, underneath my pillow. It was with this that my father punished me.

This is not an unusual story, I know that now. Fathers attack their children around the world, every day. But I did not know this then….Apparently Susannah sobbed for both of us. On her knees outside our bedroom, her eye to the keyhole; my mother behind her…

After the beating she was warm to me and cool to him for several weeks. Then it simply evened out again. The temperature in our house ….became normal. He moved, finally, into the big bedroom where she slept alone at night. Sounds came from that room, voices, late into the night. Within a month, or less, my father loved my mother back to himself.

The will of the father is frightened by a growing child’s sexuality. The father is threatened by a child’s vulnerability. The child is frightened by the father’s knowing eyes, as if he is always in room, watching.

Fear cannot grow a child to mature independence. Cruelty cannot develop a child’s intimate passion. The father’s will can break a child.

The Odyssey    -Homer

“Kind Sir, will you think me rude if I say something to you? You see what these fellow care about, music and song—easy enough, when someone else pays for the food they eat, a man whose white bones are lying on the ground and rotting in the rain, no doubt, or rolling about in the salt sea. That man! If only they caught sight of him here in Ithica once more, they would gladly give a fortune of gold for a light pair of heels! But he is dead and gone in this miserable way, and there is no comfort for us, even if there are people in the world who say he will come back. No, the day of his return will never dawn…

The will of the father makes a home and a family, his will raises an army to defend the land. Telemachus would become his father in his father’s absence. When the father is away his home is at risk by philanderers. When wisdom visits a child, a father can be saved by the father’s will alive in the child—as if imago dei is a biological fact. The parent-child mirror can be beautiful.

The devotional life cannot be separated from parenting; parenting is a devotion. God give us your hands to hold these children. Give us blind eyes, when blind eyes are best, and knowledge of growth that is fulfilled in its limitations. Make us wise farmers, knowing seasons, planting seeds and praying for rain. Amen.

-Mark L.

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