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The Joy and Pain of Being a Father Never Ends
Without question, the greatest thing I have ever done in my life was being a father to my two children.
Without question, it is also the hardest thing I have ever done.
As the father of a 25 year-old son, and a 20 year-old daughter, I have been blessed with countless days of joy and celebration, as well as tears and pain. At their ages, they are pretty much on their own. My son has his own career going, and his own life. My daughter is away in college, where she is a Division I basketball player.
No longer do I have to worry about getting them to this event, that practice, or that friend's birthday party. However, one thing that never stops is the worrying.
So, I was devastated when I got the news the other day that my daughter suffered a serious knee injury during basketball workouts. Her injury will require surgery, and she will miss her entire junior season.
To know she was more than 700 miles away from home and in pain, literally brought tears to my eyes. I needed to see her, touch her and hold her.
I know to some of you this may all seem so silly. After all, her coaches, friends, and teammates are there to support her, and watch over her. Obviously, and most thankfully. her knee injury is not a fatal blow. Her life is not in danger.
Nonetheless, that did not keep my heart from aching and tears from falling. There is simply nothing worse than knowing your child is in pain. If there was some way I could take the injury for her, I would gladly do it.
But in truth, I realize this is a necessary process for my daughter to go through. She must learn that sometimes life will deliver staggering blows. She must be able to take the hit, and learn to fight back.
In the end, this is a good lesson for her to learn. Because as much as I would like to fight all my children's battles, the fact is I can't. I will be gone one day, and so will their mother who loves them just as much as I do. They will have to deal with the challenges life offers on their own.
In many ways, I am thankful to God that her knee injury is all that happened. In this perilous world, there are so many bad things out there that can happen. I have read too many stories about innocent young people being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply making a bad decision that proved to be devastating.
This is just one of countless circumstances I have encountered with my two children over the years. And, as I reflect on those experiences, I am so thankful for all of them, whether they were celebratory or sad.
But most of all, I am thankful to be their father.