Fatherhood – an experience turns into a living metaphor

As a child, I had a recurring dream. Decades, and two sons later, thinking about it can make me cry, but a flood of gratitude almost immediately follows any sadness I experience. It was a fantasy of sorts, this dream, and it would hit me hard whether I was asleep or if it visited as a daydream.

Essentially it always involved a man positioned somewhere ahead of wherever I was. I’d sprint at full speed toward him and, when I reached him, even if he was not looking in my direction, and even if I’d not announced my intentions, I could jump up at him and he’d catch me and hold me and the combination of my weight and speed and determination wouldn’t cause him the slightest bit of hesitation.

He’d turn and catch me. He’d sway gently back and forth as I climbed into his very strong, welcoming arms.

He was sufficient. He was prepared. He knew me. He knew my every antic. He was unruffled by the enormity of my needs. He was enough for me. He was my Giant. He’d transform catching me into a joyful, warm, and wonderful experience, something we both truly enjoyed.

And, even as a bantam of a child I knew this dream, this fantasy, this vision was part of my deep desire for a father who would be this way. My urge and the nature of my desires were not lost on me, even as young as I was. It was a child in primordial search for a father who was stable, a father who’d be unruffled by the needs of one of his own and who’d enjoy the trust so lavishly placed in him.

Of course, now as an adult, I know this was Abba reaching me.

Abba was letting me know exactly Who He is, reaffirming His welcome.

And now, all these years later I run at Him with my cares.

This was Father, calling me, and by Grace and Grace alone, I responded.

For me, Father means ENOUGH. Father means BRING IT ON. Father means, take a run at Me and you will see that it’s OK. I am enough for you.

Today I am the adoptive and single dad of two boys, one boy offered to me at his mother’s request and the other because a baby was abandoned at a large city hospital.

Life ran full speed at me, and yes, I tottered a little here and there with the joy and the surprise of it all, but I am, because of Abba, enough for my sons. As ill-equipped as I have often felt, it is this childhood dream that has formed the foundation of my parenting.

It is this childhood fantasy fully realized in my relationship with Abba, that has made fatherhood the joy that it has been as my sons, now 18 and 14, have run at me with everything they’ve got and challenged everything I am and found us, all three, together in the arms of a fully loving and capable Father who really is enough for all.


Rod Smith is a Family Therapist, columnist & author living in the USA.