Being stuck at home leaves a lot of time for reflection—and cleaning.

Recently, my brother and I were sifting through our old bookcases, stacking two piles: books to donate and books to keep. The latter group soon began teetering under the weight of paperbacks, while its sister stack barely had a foundation. There were just too many memories encased within the strained bindings and yellowing pages.

My father was an influential part in my love for stories. Each nightly reading brought a new adventure to our fingertips. One thing that particularly stands out in my mind is my dad’s flair for unusual character voices. Once the picture book opened, he breathed life into the still illustrations. Even now, I can still place the exact voices to the pictures on each page.

Being a kid on Father’s Day meant gifting dad with art projects and a hug. It was about what I could give to show my love for him. As a young adult, I’ve realized that even getting him that sports car he’s been striving for cannot come close to repaying him for the influence he’s had on my life and the love he has for me.

Similarly, our faith tells us that we cannot fully understand, let alone reciprocate, the love that our Heavenly Father has for each one of us. But, He doesn’t ask us to.

Even when we were dead in sin, He sent His Son to earth in an act of love (Ephesians 2:4-5). Just as He bestowed us with this ultimate gift of salvation, our everyday lives give testament to his blessings through our abilities and talents.

All God asks in return is for our love and obedience with our heart, soul and strength, with all of our human limitations and imperfections (Deuteronomy 6:5).  

The same goes for our dads.

They bestow us with different types of gifts: a roof over our heads, toys and advice, among many other things. But they give without concern for repayment. Only love and obedience is asked for in return.

Both of these aspects of fatherly love, the spiritual and the earthly, can work in conjunction to mold each of us as a person.

My own love for stories, which my father cultivated, has been steered by the Father’s gift of writing. I’ve found solace, joy and a possible career path, all because of these two loves working in harmony.  

On this Father’s Day, we might want to rummage through our hearts and minds, sifting through memories, both fresh and weathered. Hopefully we can find that harmonic love within those stories, and give thanks to the dads that are here, those who aren’t and the everlasting Father.