It’s too often that I write to eject the pain that resulted in the relationship with my mother that I neglect the relationship I have with my Dad.
I love my parents- let that be known. It’s taken a long, long time to get there, and it’s only through the Grace of God that I was able to. It’s only through the Grace of God that I’m able to forgive my parents for the pain I endured at the most vulnerable, innocent, tender, precious time of my life- my childhood. Pain that was beyond my youthful understanding and created a lifetime of brokenness that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ selflessly rescued me from.
It could have killed me- physically, emotionally, and definitely spiritually. But God had other plans.
You can make plans, but the purpose of God will always prevail. -Proverbs 19:21
I recently watched a man and his young daughter at a church event. The little girl, still chubby from all the baby fat, was twirling around in a pick tutu. I must admit, I cracked a smile. She reminded me of myself as a child. The little girl inside of me danced with her- as I always had to be the kid singing, dancing, craving attention. See, like her, I was once fearless. It took God working relentlessly in my life recently to restore my fearlessness again.
It wasn’t long before I saw the child’s father in my peripheral. He stood there, eyes glued on her, anticipating her every move. He was smiling too. There was something else in his eyes, though. See, he was there to help her up when her spinning became too much for her wobbly chunky thighs to handle. He was there to make sure she didn’t stray too far from his protective watch. He was there to chase after her- to pick her up, to spin her around himself, to tickle her, to make her laugh. He was there to bring Joy to her life and to keep her safe.
This was a beautiful thing to watch, though it cut to the pit of my soul. This empty, hollow feeling hits me every time I watch someone else interact with their children. This void instantly appears and burns my soul- so I pretend I don’t care about children(or not having any) as a weak defense.
The truth is it absolutely kills me that I don’t know what that bond is like from either end. The truth is it absolutely destroys my soul that I don’t have a family to be a part of- to love, honor, and protect. To pour all my love into. To share Jesus with. To raise into fierce warriors of God and carry a new generation, that will outlive me, into society to raise it up to the heavens.
I am just trying to trust God’s will that his plans for me will either result in that eventually, or be better all together- God’s will is perfect. See it was the feeling that I’d get all three of my heart’s desires that made me realize how perfect his will is. I thought I could have 1) True Love 2) A Family 3) A Life 100% Devoted to restoring the church to the way it was in early Acts, changing the world, and fighting for Christ.
I thought, with the introduction of one person in my life, that I finally didn’t have to choose. I could have all three!!!
But as my soul becomes a giant whole of emptiness just thinking about it, let me address the topic I started- my father, my Dad.
It sucks that I have no concrete memories of my father before the age of nine. I know he came around, I’ve seen the pictures, but none of it is there. I know I loved him. I was born loving him. He sang to me in the hospital when I was born. My dad and I share a love and passion for music. My dad sings in the church choir and I’ve done chorus throughout my entire schooling. My dad has a relationship with God that I can sometimes share in.
My father worked his entire life. He had a rough start. He had no dad around for him- nothing to model his life from. When his dad was there, he physically abused him. My dad was the oldest, so he took the brunt of the abuse, and he had to take care of his younger siblings. As a result, my dad is an extremely responsible, slightly OCD, Type-A personality. He doesn’t believe in mistakes. He is a creature of habit- slow and methodical. He plans out almost all of his moves.
He came out of prison. He’s seen the rough side of life. He will always tell me to be careful- always try to give me weapons to carry in my purse even when I tell him it’s against the law to carry a weapon to my job as teacher. So, I know, that my father both loves me and wants nothing else in the world than to keep me safe.
He took me to church as a kid, every Sunday he had custody of me. He gave me gum to chew during the boring Catholic services and it was the highlight of the entire experience. I didn’t care at all what the priest said- I was just happy my father gave me gum.
My father came into my life because I got diagnosed with scoliosis at age nine. My dad was an X-Ray tech. I was so nervous to see him after years of not seeing him. I tried to play the role of the perfect daughter- I was so eager to please Daddy. I was quiet and reserved- qualities that are so far from my true nature. But I didn’t know what to expect of him. I didn’t know if he loved me. I couldn’t have him reject me. I just had to be perfect.
I noticed right away that my dad was more generous and gentle than my mother. My dad was a simple spirit. He would let me buy comic books when I was shopping with him at the supermarket- something my mother would never allow. He was wallowing in the faded dreams of never having made it as a professional baseball player. Minor leagues was as far as he’d got.
I got my athletic build and my athletic side from my father. Unlike my mother, he encouraged me in sports. He took care of his body. He didn’t overeat- taught me to be quiet at the dinner table- and he showed up for my track meets to show his support. He’s in his seventies and looks twenty years younger. He is still fit and takes care of himself.
It hurt that my dad had new relationships with my step-brothers. I was slightly jealous of that. I felt the immeasurable pain of being rejected by him at times and the immeasurable pain of his absence when his visits weren’t consistent. He also seemed to love my older sister more. Nikki, Nicole, was the more “fragile” of his two daughters. She was his first. She was constantly sick. He pitied her, and, with me, he was slightly scared of my wild spirit.
I know it pains him endlessly that Nicole doesn’t call him or talk to him and it’s been a decade. I know he still thinks about her, and now, I comfort him and tell him that she’s a sick girl. I pray for my sister.
See my dad is far from perfect- he is close-minded, racist, stubborn, and almost impossible to live with (based on his OCD when it comes to germs and cleanliness). He will freak out if there is a stray hair in the bathroom or if a soda explodes in the freezer in the kitchen because someone forgot to take it out. But my dad has a good heart.
He is broken. He needs someone to take care of him- a simple woman. Someone who will love him despite his faults, cook for him, be there when he sits in front of the couch all day and watches all of his favorite movies/tv programs.
My dad takes pity on the needy and the broken-hearted. Despite all his hardened qualities, I know there’s a good person there and it breaks my heart that he is currently alone. Two failed marriages, plus his non-wed relationship to my mother.
No one deserves to die alone.
My father was the one who taught me to drive. God bless him for having that kind of patience with me. He picked me up and took me from the bus, train, etc, after I totaled my first car within a month of owning it. He always has faith in me, has words of encouragement, and helps strengthen my relationship with God.
My Dad even showed his support when I was engaged to my ex-fiance. I made my ex shave his head before meeting my father. There was no way I was introducing a boy with shaggy hair to meet my Dad.
He treated him like son. He would have proudly walked me down the aisle. He was willing to put some of his life savings into our modest reception.
I guess, to bring this full circle, is that over the years I’ve dated men with kids, and I realize that there is just a special bond that a man has with his daughter. It’s beautiful. It’s from God. And it makes me care for those men so, so, so much more.
I think it takes a daughter to bring out the true tenderness in a man’s spirit. It allows them to become something they’re not. It makes me love their daughters the same way. It reminds me what I have possibly to look forward to, it reminds me what I should have had growing up, it reminds me of what I finally have now because I know my daddy loves me.
See, even after a lifetime of pain and brokenness, the Good Good Lord would have it so that there was a restoration- so that all the truth came to the light- so that I would know the truth about my father- so that I would grow to love him and understand his choices and even have compassion for his pain and struggle despite any pain I felt growing up or despite anything people (including my mother) said about him.
So, for all those out there reading my blog, wondering if the choices they make now will separate them from their children forever, just have faith in the Lord your God and use my example as testimony.
The Lord is the redeemer that sets the world straight.