I sighed long as I looked out the window of my plane cresting above the Dulles airport.
My husband and I had been married five years – most of which were spent living and working in Washington DC. It had been a difficult year. Months of failed fertility attempts, and a tenuous situation that developed concerning my professional career. The company I worked for was dissolving, legal tensions had cropped up concerning a non-compete most employees had signed, and I was caught in the middle – trying to perform administrative responsibilities while also representing the needs of our staff. In short, the mental harangue over the whole predicament was a nightmare. I hadn’t slept well in weeks and I was beginning to lose weight I couldn’t afford to lose.
One evening my husband looked across the table at me and said, “I think we should send you home for a while. To be with your family. You need a break from all of this.”
I felt a surprising amount of light down that tunnel. And as he said the words, I knew it was a good idea. A few days earlier he had given me a very inspired blessing. It helped, but the angst in my chest was still visible. When I talked, my constant return to the topic revealed worries that just kept whirring. Cyclical and steady in my mind.
“I think you ought to ask your Dad for a blessing” he said. “Fathers know their children – what they need.”
I arrived in Salt Lake City three and a half hours later, my parents picked me up, and that night I asked my Dad for a blessing. I will never forget the power I felt as he began. He has a tender heart and a way with words. Always has. He believed it was important to stay close to God so he could offer sound and compassionate counsel the moment he was asked. All my life, this is the thing I have appreciated most about him.
A few sentences into the blessing, he spoke to me just as the Savior did to the wind and waves when He stood in the fishermen’s boat on Galilee. His words were not suggestion. They were a command. And I felt the firmness in his voice. “Peace.” he said. “Be still.” His fingers were warm on top of my head and the Spirit moved through them. Drop by drop, the anxiety and turmoil I had been tossing trickled out of me. Out of my chest and over my knees. I was sure if I opened my eyes I would see it, pooling black beneath my feet.
He told me God had a plan for my children. That He would fulfill every one of His promises in His own time. He counseled me regarding my work situation, and before he was finished I knew clearly what to do.
That blessing changed my life.
There is something calming and centering about returning to those who know us best. We call up memories, remember where we’ve come from. And it’s the same with our Heavenly Father. Going to him is calming, centering. He knows us best, reminds us where we belong, helps us know what we ought to do.
No matter who we are, we long for a loving Father.
Even though I am married and devoted to my husband, my need for approval from my Dad has never lessened. My desire for him to congratulate me, compliment me, love me, or simply show he is aware of me, is as strong as it has always been.
President Ezra Taft Benson said,
“Fathers, yours is an eternal calling from which you are never released. Callings in the Church, as important as they are, by their very nature are only for a period of time, and then an appropriate release takes place. But a father’s calling is eternal, and its importance transcends time. It is a calling for both time and eternity” (Ensign, November 1987).
In a world where roles appear to be lessening in importance, I believe the role of Father (and Mother) still are, and will always be more important, more influential, and more far-reaching than we comprehend.
In our little home, the whole world shifts for the better when Daddy walks in the door. And I am grateful. With Father’s Day a week away I want to celebrate good Fathers.
Tell me about your Dad. How has he influenced your life? And if you haven’t had a Father you could count on, who have you looked to?