I'm not a great one for listening to the radio in the car. As a priest in a rural parish I spend a lot of time on the road and I usually use the time for prayer or reflection (esp. thinking about next week's sermon). But yesterday I had to drive to Dublin. Athy was a bottle-neck, traffic crawling so slowly I was hoping a traffic warden wouldn't give a parking ticket. It's hard to concentrate on much when you're progressing in six-inch bursts, so I turned on Lyric, Ireland's classical radio station, as a distraction.
Why they decided to play Peter Gabriel's 'Father, Son' I don't know. I hadn't heard it before. But driving along listening, I found I had a tear in my eye. My own dad has Alzheimer's and isn't sure of his own name some days. But in the days when he did and the names of those around him and the names of those he loved, he was a lovely man, kind, gentle, and sweet. He's not dead, but I miss him.
I could empathise with what Peter Gabriel was saying in his song. And wiping away that little tear in my eye (probably caused by a speck of dust) I thought of those who had never had a good relationship with their father ... perhaps had never known their fathers. When they hear songs like that, do they know what he's singing about? When they hear prayers like the Our Father does it repel rather than draw them in?
A reminder I think to cherish our fathers, to be good fathers ourselves, and to do our best to foster good relations between fathers and their children.