I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whatchya Reading? Friday

A friend of mine gave me a book recently by Donald Miller called To Own a Dragon. I've already read Miller's breakout book, Blue Like Jazz, and I blogged about it here. Miller and I come from different camps when it comes to politics, but I flat out love the guy's honesty and willingness to just tell us who he really is. I suspect that his books are doing so well for this very reason.

To Own a Dragon had a special appeal to me. The subtitle is "Reflections of Growing Up Without a Father." I can relate. My parents divorced when I was eight. Thankfully, I can never remember a time when my Dad wasn't in my life, although if he were alive today, he could probably painfully point to many such instances, but at the same time when you grow up without a father in the house, you still miss out on a lot between visits every other Sunday. And you never really find a good substitute during the other 13 days. But my Mom tried.

She put me in Cub Scouts, but that wasn't my thing. She tried to bring me around adult male relatives hoping that one of them would be able to offer some valuable insight into manhood, but I never really got close to any of them. So, when it came to girls, and sports, and many other things, I sort of had to figure them out on my own. Since I didn't really know what I was missing by not having a father in my household, I just did the best I could, but this passage from Miler's book really got me: 

"For me a father is nothing more than a character in a fairy tale. And I know fathers are not like dragons in that fathers actually exist, but I don't remember feeling that a father existed for me...I don't say this out of self-pity, because in a way I don't miss having a father any more than I miss having a dragon. But in another way, I find myself wondering if I missed out on something important."

Miller is adamant that a person can never really find an earthly substitute for a father, but he did find the next best thing. A couple from his church asked him to move into an apartment over their garage. He lived there for four years and he got to see healthy interactions between the man and wife, and between the man and wife and their children. He wasn't always appreciative of it, but eventually he saw the light.

In a chapter called "Spirituality: God is Fathering Us" he noted that the "Our Father" prayer starts out with two intimate words that address the Father to the fatherless and that he was only now beginning to know such intimacy. Here's the way he described it:

"There is a part of me, and I think it is a growing part, that believes if I submit to God, read the Bible and obey His commands, and also talk to Him about stuff going on in my life, in His own way, He is fathering me toward maturity."

If you know somebody who grew up without a father--especially a man, think about picking him up a copy of this book.

What are you reading this week? Care to share with the rest of us?


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