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Shine On: Feeling like you’re not good enough

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My life’s greatest regret happened during a baseball game my nine-year-old son was playing in. It’s a day I hate to remember, and yet I can’t forget it.

Bottom of the last inning, my son’s team was up by one run, with runners on second and third base and two outs. If we got an out, we would win the game. The windup, the pitch. It was a high pop up to the left side of the field. It should have been an easy out – but wait! The third baseman and the shortstop couldn’t hear each other calling for the ball. They were both going for it. The shortstop leapt… and his glove collided with the third baseman’s glove as the ball ricocheted off into foul territory. The runner from third scored to tie the game. The runner from second scored. The other team won.

That’s when my big, dumb mouth yelled, “Great guys! You cost us the game!”

My son was the shortstop. When we got in the car he told me he had never felt worse in his life. Truth is, neither have I. He felt like he let his team down. I knew I had let him down.

Why do I share this terrible memory with you? Why would I admit to such an epic failure of fatherhood? I want to shine a light on something most of us fathers almost never talk about: Shame.

Call it by another name – regret, remorse, guilt. Simply put, many fathers feel like they aren’t good enough.

I’ve worked with hundreds of dads in small groups and retreats, and I’ve met with men one-on-one. I can promise this wound is real and it cuts deep. Men who wish they could go back and do things differently. Fathers who wish they could go back and change something. Men who think things would have been better if only they had done this, or hadn’t done that.

Here we are in the midst of this magazine issue celebrating fathers, and I wonder how many fathers will read this issue and feel the twinge of regret, the sting of shame.

Maybe it’s because an adult child has fallen away from the faith. Maybe it’s guilt from a broken marriage. Maybe it’s as simple as the insight that comes from age and wisdom. Whatever the reason, now is a good time to shine a light on those feelings of regret and remorse. As we approach the Feast of St. Joseph, bring your imperfections to him and ask for his prayers.

St. Joseph lived under the same roof as Mary and Jesus. He was the only imperfect person in the family. If you need an example of God using an imperfect man to help accomplish His perfect will, look no further! He understands you and his intercession is powerful.

You can’t do anything to change the past, and you will always be imperfect, but you can ask for the intercession of St. Joseph as you move into the future, letting his humble and silent service to the will of God inspire you to be the person God created you to be.

Dominick Albano is the director of digital engagement for The Catholic Telegraph, as well as an author and national speaker. He and his wife have been married for 13 years and have four sons.

This article appeared in the March 2021 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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