Fathers and Daughters-A Meditation for Lent, Day 25


“Why don’t you ever use your strength on me?” she said.
Because love means renouncing strength,” said Franz softly.” ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I watched them as they danced: her body held close to his, her face nestled softly against his neck. His left arm encircled her and he pulled her into him, breathing her essence. They were crying, because this was, most likely, their last dance.

The lights kissed their tears, sparkling in the spring night. Each was remembering something holy about each other. He is her father, and she now belongs in the arms of another, who, he hopes, will never be all that he is to her, no matter how hard he tries. A father’s love for his daughter is a raging fire that can never be quenched.

Mothers kiss their sons goodbye, knowing from the moment they first hold them to their breast that one day they will be gone. A father, on the other hand, believes that his daughter will always love him first, no matter whom else she loves. He is certain that his little girl, who long ago grew to be a woman, and whom he loves more deeply than any creature he has ever beheld, will always, always, love him the way he loves her. There could be no more perfect love than the love of a father for this woman who is bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.

But he renounces his strength and gives her to another, because that is what we do, that is how we survive from one generation to another. A father surrenders, finally: the old vanquished by reality of the new.father-daughter-wedding-dance1-400x300

In the Christian theology of the Trinity, it is the love of the Father for the Son that rescues the universe. But theology is a pretty useless way to understand the universe. In the real world, a father loves his daughter so much that he renounces his own power over her so that she can be who she is. That is true love. It will break your heart.

But then, love always does, doesn’t it?

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