Elections, Fathers, and Broken Hearts

In the past week…

I’ve taken a high school kid out for ice cream on his 16th birthday. He was struggling because his dad hadn’t bothered to even call on such a big day.

A little girl asked me to pray for her dad, who had his parole hearing coming up.

Another girl asked me to pray for her dad, who was in prison.

Yet another girl’s dad lives in Mexico, but has gone missing. She is worried.

A teenager told me she hopes she can one day actually meet her real dad.

A 6th grade boy told me he lives with his aunt because his dad lives out of state and his mom “has done some really bad stuff and his having problems.” His cousin who he lives with asked if I could pray for her.

I heard those stories in the span of 7 days. Stories with one common denominator: no dad in the picture. Kids long to know their fathers love them. They long to simply know their dads, and spend time with them. I get so tired of seeing kids day after day being let down.

One thing I’m thankful for during this election is that President Obama and Mitt Romney are both loving fathers. They love their wives, and genuinely seem to adore their kids. I like that. It’s important. Regardless of politics, I think we can all agree that this is a good thing.

But I also know that no matter who wins the election today, those kids I work with are still going to hurt. Their families are still going to struggle. No politician, no philosophy of government can heal a broken heart. And an unhealed broken heart grows up angry. It hurts. It lashes out. It leaves those it loves before it can be hurt again. And the cycle repeats itself. That’s why most of those dads have fled. Their hearts are broken. And they’ve yet to meet the only One who can heal their hearts.

We put a lot of thought and energy and drive and anger and money (billions of dollars this year) into elections. Elections are important. I get that. I’m voting today and voting enthusiastically. But I know my vote isn’t going to change my city the way my demonstration of my Heavenly Father’s love can. How I wish we the Church could put that same drive and effort and energy and thought into alleviating the pains of poverty, the hurt and abandonment and brokenness. How I wish we could be so dedicated to loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbors and our enemies as ourselves so much that we didn’t care what their views on taxes are.

Because that just might change the world.

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