The chorus of Jason Upton's Father of the Fatherless started going through my head again the other day--about half-way through the guys' grief support group. Three guys--all have had their fathers die. One--mom left even before that. Two of them--dad died when they were so young, they hardly knew what was happening. The other, between when mom left in grade 4, and his dad came back (from working away) with late stage cancer in grade 9, he only saw him two times. He walked into the hospital room with his cousin and his dad asked, "Which one of you is my son?" ...didn't even recognize his own son! One of the guys expressed so poignantly the loss--how hard it is, all the things you have to face when your father dies. Your family becomes poor. Older brothers and sisters had to drop out of school and go to work. He had to fight to be able to go to high school--mom wanted him to go off to work, but others rallied around to support. "Everything I have to learn by myself...even making friends, relating to other people." I'm glad he's finally found safety and courage to name the loss, name the pain.

Father of the fatherless
Come down and rescue us
We need You
We need You again
Friend of the the friendless
Come down and visit us
We need You
We need You again

And then the girls...oh, even more pain there, maybe because there were more of them, but also other factors that come in for girls. Twelve girls, and as one shared and cried, there would be tears and sniffling all around the circle. A couple were given to other families to raise, "They told everyone I had died." After being passed around several times, one finally got to live with her parents again. She said, "I worked hard to earn their love, I used my grades to show them I was a good girl and worthy of their love... it seems to be working, so I must have been successful." Her siblings would sometimes mock her saying she was "a child brought in from the wild." Sometimes, when fighting, they would tell her, "go home, to your home," meaning somewhere else, other than there. Ah, but she is comforted now by her "success." Even though she has health problems, her family seems willing to take her for treatment and pay whatever that costs. Another girl--her mom (both parents?) came to her grandma's house to give birth to her, then left, and she has never seen them again.

One was holding her mother, trying to prop her up to drink some sugar water, mom was having trouble, she told her brother to go get her dad, but by the time he got there she had stopped breathing. Does she wonder if it's her fault? Another--it sounded like she felt guilty for the death...if only her parents weren't away having to make money for her tuition. Oh...and there is much more.

Oh the pain they carry. Lord...please them somehow...bring them home, to You, in You. And somehow, show us how to carry these burdens with them, to comfort, to encourage, to be Your love in the pain.

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