Jeffrey Goldberg considers why Thomas Vander Woude chose to drown in a collapsed septic tank in order to save the life of his 20-year-old son, who has Down syndrome:
I’m reasonably sure an atheist would sacrifice his life for his child. But I also don’t doubt that Thomas Vander Woude’s powerful faith cleared the path into the tank. A person who has an articulated calling, who believes in something larger than himself, could more immediately accept the gravity of the moment.
He wouldn't bend to the will of a backward world and wouldn't allow us to bend either. I was sure that everyone else my age was frolicking in pagan October masks, eating hamburgers and pie a la mode, backstroking through a lake of Christmas presents, while I meditated among stacks of tofu and books. Even after I got Conscious, I felt I'd been robbed of time, that I had been isolated in a series of great childhood events. In my father's house, values ripped us from the crowd. Dad called it enlightenment. But to me it just felt lonely.
Tony Woodlief ponders the meaning of the holiday:
So on Father’s Day we remember what our fathers have done for us, and unless we and they are saints, we remember what they have not done for us, and so perhaps on Father’s Day we forgive, too. We forgive, and we pray, those of us who are fathers, that we might be forgiven as well, some day, for the thousand little neglects, and the dozen graver sins. We pray forgiveness for the stretches of time when we are not fully their fathers, when instead we yearn to belong more fully to ourselves, forgetting that you can never love richly and deeply so long as it is yourself you seek.