The Trinity is a Mystery to most people. However, I think it is a lovely image of understanding how someone you love can take on different roles in your life and still be one person. God, as a loving Parent, as a deeply bonded Brother, and as a soul-stirring Spirit is Someone we can depend on whatever we face. This God we hear in the First Reading is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. This is a God we can trust. This is a God who sent His only begotten Son into the world and left the Spirit to remain with us and guide us.
Today on Father’s Day, it is a good idea to reflect on what this type of unconditional and boundless Love feels like. My father is a man who has spent his whole life giving. I got him talking tonight in a rare walk down memory lane. I often think my father is a Mystery as complex as the Trinity. I asked him to share a memory for us of growing up. Here is what he had to say:
His day started with one of his parents yelling up the stairs at 5:00 am to go and milk the cows. He was seven years old. Some days he would bang his shoe on the floor, to behave as if he had heard and was getting up to do the chore and then he rolled over and went back to sleep. He had to get the chicken eggs too some days. Supper might be a chance to go and fetch one of those chickens to eat.
He talked about the many acres–hundreds of acres–of farm land that he worked without tractors. He did it by foot, hauling the equipment around. Sometimes he had horses. He started working for his neighbour and then the neighbour’s brother. He enjoyed them both, saying they treated him right and feed him well. They were hard workers and that family eventually got a tractor.
He worked hard and then one year, his parents moved to town and left him in charge of the farm. That was all well and good until he had an appendix attack and the doctor had to operate. Then his brother had to go out to the farm and work it while he recuperated.
Eventually, a cousin-friend, who our family grew up with, convinced him to move to the city in which we now call home, and that was that. Listening to him, I had a strong sense that my dad actually loved his childhood, even though it has physically demanding. I was also struck by the respect he had for the other two farmers he worked for. He did work for one other that did not treat him so well, but these two brothers seemed like solid men who instilled in him a work ethic that has always amazed me.
There is still an air of mystery to both my father’s past and the Trinity but I know that sometimes we do not need to know everything in order to feel Love.