"I'm so sorry Dad, I didn't mean to tip the bike over!" I exclaimed, "I just let the clutch out too quick I guess, and didn't catch it in time." I said as my small 12-year-old frame tried to lift the immensely heavy dirt bike off the ground. "Oh it's okay Dev, let's just try to get the bike off the ground to make sure it's okay," My Dad said. He had just arrived on his bike and helped me lift the bike off the ground.
To my dismay, as we lifted the bike I started to see scratches and dents all along the side of the bike. I had tipped the bike over in the worst location surrounded by loose rocks and dirt. "Oh no! I ruined my bike. Look at all these scratches." As I swung my leg around the seat so my Dad and I could keep riding the trails in the Utah desert, my eyes fixated on the scratches in the pristine red paint on my bike.
My Dad, an endless supply of optimism, immediately kept trying to remind me that it was okay and the bike was running fine. As we went along the different trails, he would reach out for a high-five at each summit and exclaim, "You did it!" and "See? You couldn't master a hill like this before, but look you made it to the top so easily!" Even though we were having so much fun, my mind stayed focused on my "ruined" bike that was now covered in scratches.
Ever since I was very little I've been somewhat of a perfectionist. My incredibly kind parents still tease me that when I was 8 and being interviewed by my Bishop for baptism, I explained I was so nervous and asked: "if I sin again, could I just be baptized again so I can always be clean?" My kind Bishop tried to explain the process of repentance and that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be made clean. But my young brain still couldn't fully wrap my head the process of repentance, and I felt it would just be easier if I never sinned again, an easy task to accomplish I told myself.
That was until the third day after my baptism when my sister called me a mean name and I responded by repeating a phrase from an Indiana Jones film. I'll save you from the suspense, it was not a good phrase. My sweet Mother took my hand and told me I needed to apologize to my sister, and then ask Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to forgive me for what I had done. When I realized I had sinned again, I felt my heart sink. I promised myself I would never sin again after this, but sadly, as life goes, that proved to be impossible for me.
As my Dad and I made our way back from the trails to our truck, the sun was setting over the beautiful Utah desert as we loaded our bikes. As I tightened the straps around my bike, I let out a loud sigh as I looked at all the scratches and dents again. My Dad, like a lot of fatherly figures in our lives, saw the perfect opportunity to teach me an important lesson about life, repentance, and the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We sat by the trucks and he said he felt sorry about what had happened to my bike but even more sad that I had let it prevent me from having a great day of riding.
In the most loving way, he explained that one of the most important parts of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is forgiving ourselves once we have followed the process and repentance. He explained that sometimes in life when we make mistakes, we lose sight of the love of our Father in Heaven when we fixate on the past and refuse to forgive ourselves. He went on to tell me how much loved and appreciated my desire to remain clean, and that like my siblings I wanted to do what was right. He counseled me though that once I have repented of my mistakes, that I should try to focus on the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of us individually.
It was a simple lesson, that day by the dirt bikes, but it's one that has stuck with me for so many years. We all sin and fall short at times, and many us try to sincerely repent of our sins and make needed restitution. But sometimes the hardest part of the process is to forgive ourselves. Thankfully, our loving Father in Heaven has given us kind parents, and in light of the holiday, kind fathers and fatherly figures, to remind us of our worth. They teach us how to love one another, to love ourselves, and try our very best to follow our Father in Heaven's loving commandments.
Sadly, some individuals have had very different experiences with their own fathers and fatherly figures, but we can look to the example of our Father in Heaven for what it means to really be a "Dad". Our Father in Heaven sees and rejoices in each of our daily efforts to draw closer to Him, and will never leave us when we stumble and fall. He has prepared a way for us to return to Him through our Savior Jesus Christ.
This Father's Day, all of us here at LDS Bookstore hope you have a wonderful holiday and have fatherly figures you can celebrate, even if that figure is yourself.
We have an exciting Father's Day Sale happening currently, and we're certain that you'll find the perfect gift! Click the link here to see our full collection.