I am not particularly sentimental. I don't idealize the good old days; I don't reminisce about an idyllic childhood.
Nonetheless, Father's Day always makes me reflect. My first thoughts turn to my Heavenly Father who sacrificed his Son so that I can experience grace and mercy.
Then I think about my great-great grandfather, David Douglass, who begat my great grandfather, John Douglass, Sr., who begat my grandfather, Lloyd Douglass. All three of them were born into much tougher circumstances than I have ever faced, harder circumstances than I can even truly imagine. In spite of that, all three of them had hearts full of hope. Each one taught the next to believe that times change and things get better. Because of them, that belief is an enduring part of our family's culture.
Finally, I think about my father, Franklin Douglass. And when I think about him, I mean really sit down and think about our relationship, I cry.
My father is very much alive and pretty healthy for an old guy. So I don't cry because I miss him. He is often in the family room or on the other end of the phone with some jewel of unsolicited advice. So, I don't cry because I wonder what he would do if he was in my shoes. My father sees my daughter every day after school. So I don't cry because I wish he could have seen his granddaughter grow up.
I cry because I know that there is a man on Earth who wakes up every morning thinking about me. Regardless of my faults, failings, strengths or successes, he cares what happens to me. Many days knowing that he cares, that he wants me the story of our family to speak well of me, is the very thing that gives me the courage to take the next step up the dark staircase.
I am certain that at this point, as he reads this, my father is crying, too. He is full of compassion for all mankind, but family is the center of his world. He is the oldest of his siblings, so he has taken on the role as family patriarch since Daddy Lloyd died. He is always on the phone offering advice to one of them about how to deal with life issues. He will go anywhere in the world to support, correct or stand in the gap for a member of the family. And for anyone who knows him, you know there is not a much better person to have on your side when times get tough.
My Heavenly Father blessed me with an exceptional Earthly Father. I am certain that I would not have made it to this point in my journey without his reproof, correction and instruction. I am thankful that he continues to teach. Hopefully, I will continue to learn. I am honored to be his son.
Karl Douglass, Columbus native and resident, is a frequent commenter on local, state and federal politics. Follow him on Twitter@KarlDouglass or facebook.com/karldouglass.