i know recently ive written a lot recently about fatherlessness.  part of my reason for doing so is because i see myself as fatherless.  and when youre 30 and thinking about the female species, it can be terrifying.  terrifying to know you dont have a role model to follow.  you dont have someone who walked the road you’re about to walk.

john eldredge in his book fathered by God, talks about a moment he had while on vacation in alaska.  their guide took them ashore and offered to show them something most tourists never see.  after 20 minutes of walking through forests, they came upon a bog.  a wetland, where the earth was more water than solid ground.  their guide led them to a path that cut the bog in two.  footprints, set evenly apart.  footprints of solid ground, where there shouldnt have been any.  solid ground, surrounded by wetland.

the guide explained to them that through countless generations, this path had been formed by bears.  the adult generation males would teach the younger males the path to walk on, the youth would learn by placing their feet in the footsteps of their fathers.

the reality of this situation wasnt that there was a solid path to walk on, but there were solid places to put ones foot.  John talks about standing in awe as his foot landed in a footprint perfectly spaced for a four-legged creature to traverse a dangerous and unsure ground.  a footprint formed quite possibly over a millenia.  generations of bears teaching the younger ones where to walk.  and in doing so, building a foundation for the generations that were to come.

you cant look at a place like that and not think that fathers are unimportant.  that fatherhood isnt important.  because it is.  because it’s in the father that a son finds his true worth.  it’s in a father that a son learns to push his boundaries, overcome his limits and grow into the man that he is destined to be.  it’s in a father that a son learns how to love, to call the girl, to change oil and fix a flat tire.  it’s in a father that a son learns who he is, and who he can be.

fathers were destined to teach their sons where the solid footsteps were.  remove a father from the equation, and even though that ancient path exists, even though there are steps laid out for a young male to become the man he is destined to be, you remove from him the ability to find that path.

i think what im learning the most is that this path to manhood was never meant to be walked alone.  the younger ones learned the safe places to stand by watching their fathers.  by watching the generation before them forge ahead.  and they in turn, taught their children.

in the absence of a father, that ancient chain is broken.  and a man is forced to step out on his own.  and if you’ve ever spent time in a bog, without solid footing, you know it’s almost impossible to cross.

yes, there will be missteps.  and im sure before it’s over i will stumble and fall, but i will keep trusting.  i’ll keep believing the words i’ve read.  ancient words that say there is a Father to the fatherless.  that say there is a great warrior fighting for me.  ancient words that say that i am not fatherless.