Some children cannot love their fathers. They find them annoying. Or embarrassing. Or unsettling. They’re irritated by their fathers because they’ve turned out differently than they had expected.
They’re irritated because the father refused their mother’s wish to patch up the marriage when there was nothing left to patch up, refused her means of prolonging a loving marriage where there was no longer love. And such children take it out on the father. Whatever the father does, the children will be nasty and mean to him.
And the fathers—the helpless, aging, yearning fathers—do everything they can to be loved. Everything. They are filled with an enormous longing for a family, for children who would remember them with fondness. They think that it must somehow be their fault that their children cannot love them. But after a few years, it no longer has anything to do with the father.
We cannot decide to love. We cannot compel anyone to love us. There’s no secret recipe, only love itself. And we are at its mercy—there’s nothing we can do.
Far too many people (many of them so-called Christians) are the accomplices of cruel, indifferent children. They cover for these children. Yet, their father always retains some hope that love is hiding behind the cruelty so that the anguish doesn’t drive him mad. Truth is, though, there’s no love there.