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Father's Day - encouraging, inspiring, challenging experiences!

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John Eyster
June 16, 2013

Father's Day - encouraging, inspiring, challenging experiences!

I benefitted reading through the various articles in newspapers online early this morning. All-in-all, I would rate ANNA MARIE LUX's Gazette article OUTstanding. I urge you to read it on this Father's Day.

Reading ANNA MARIE LUX’s article, “A change of heart: Daughter’s birth transforms first-time father into a new man” published in today’s Janesville Gazette will enrich your Father's Day today. (Sorry, I am not allowed to provide a link. IF you are a subscriber, you have access. IF you are not a subscriber, you need to buy a print copy.)

You will benefit reading ANNA MARIE’s poignant sharing of the experiences of Bryan Schultz and Danielle Pann through their pregnancy learning that their daughter would be born with a complex and rare heard defect. The prognosis of doctors was optimistic, they found the situation more complicated than they had diagnosed after the baby was born on May 2.

Today – FATHER’S DAY we all benefit from ANNA MARIE LUX’s gift of writing as she articulates with cogency and insightful description the fatherhood which Bryan is experiencing. I commend ANNA MARIE for embracing Lana Leola’s mother Danielle Pann as part of the whole story. The column really is a FATHER’S DAY feature which caused me to reflect to my own personal experiences of fatherhood and grand fatherhood. I encourage all FATHERS to read the column today and REFLECT on its meaning and message. What do YOU think?

My daughter – our first child – was born on Saturday before FATHER’S DAY. Readers of my blog know I am an ordained clergyperson, so you realize I would have Sunday morning responsibilities the day after my child was born. We had, of course, planned for the Service to be a celebration of FATHERHOOD. I was the pastor at Hebron United Methodist Church east of Fort Atkinson at that time.

My daughter’s birth was a very significant experience for me – while we had the months of pregnancy, I confess it was not until my daughter was born that I really fully REALIZED that I was a FATHER and, truth be told, FATHER OF A DAUGHTER. Put this in context with the fact that I grew up in a family of 3 boys – John, Jim, Jerry. Add to the context that my wife grew up in a family of 4 girls – Marge, Sharon, Ruth, Marilyn. We were blessed that Marilyn’s mother and sister Ruth came to WI the next week when mom and baby came home from the hospital to be with us when Marilyn and the baby came home from the hospital. VALUABLE support for us as new parents.

The birth of my daughter was like an earthquake for me. I confess I was surprised that I was so shaken up and loaded with a sense of awesome responsibility. I wrestled mightily with the message for the Sunday morning Service. Not much sleep. The message was heavy on the responsibilities of FATHERHOOD.

After the Service I was greeting at the door with parishioners sharing CONGRATULATIONS for Marilyn and me. One of the most active and committed members of the congregation who was at church every single Sunday except when ill or away from home, Ed, father of a daughter and 2 sons with years of experience as a FATHER. Ed put his arm on my shoulder with real caring and confidently whispered to me, “John, it’s going to be wonderful to be FATHER of a daughter.”

That reassuring word from Ed really buoyed me over the next weeks as I adjusted to FATHERHOOD.

Since then there have been MANY – too many to count – very, very special experiences of FATHERHOOD to describe in my blog, I have been TRULY blessed! My wife, MARILYN, has been a very special spouse and mother and grandmother. Our children, BETH and MARK have enriched our lives through the years. And now, we have the experiences of grandparenthood.

One of the greatest blessings we enjoy is that our children with their spouses and children live close enough for us to have time with them regularly essentially every week. We are GRATEFUL!

I know that on that milestone FATHER’S DAY we sang the very meaningful, reassuring and challenging hymn reflecting The Apostle Paul’s assertion that GOD, the FATHER is from all FATHERHOOD takes its name/identity. That faith conviction has blessed me through the years as a FATHER!

What is YOUR experience/comment?

Here we go…

Mr. E.



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