Love, Anger, and Forgiveness
Thinking back over my childhood, I realize that I’ve had many experiences that I’ve chosen not to revisit often. Sometimes the memories are not ones that make us feel good and at other times it’s just the personal nature of it that makes you want to clam up. The scripture tells us that “no man lives unto himself.” Everything we go through can help and/or hurt someone else, it’s not just about us. I’d like to share bits of my story. I pray that I will be a help to those that read.
I love my Dad. I always did and I always will. I spent most of my young life wanting to spend time with him. I had an unwavering love for him that was there against all reasoning. My encounters with him that I can remember were few. My mom said he was around the first two years of my life (that must be when we bonded). I remember the nasty break-up between him and my mom, I was very young but being in the middle of it left me with a lasting memory of him trying to take me from my mother. It is a bitter-sweet memory. Two people I love so much fighting over who will keep me. Needless to say Momma won. I didn’t see Daddy again for what seemed like ages. I remember getting new Easter clothes and Momma saying they were from my daddy, but I don’t remember seeing him. I had a 3rd grade teacher, an older man, I loved him so much because he reminded me of my daddy. When I got in trouble at school, I would get the paddle and it made me feel even more like “this is what it was like to have a daddy discipline me.” It might sound strange to some but, the discipline made me happy. I knew Mr. O’Neil cared about me and wanted me to obey.
A couple of years later I faced what I thought was a tragedy! Momma was getting married! I didn’t need a father! I had one already. I wanted MY father. I began desperately writing my dad letters pleading for him to come see me. NOTHING. Never got any answers. I nursed the idea that my dad loved me and would take me away if I asked, but I never asked. I didn’t want my fantasy to be shattered. I was 10 years old, trying to find my personal identity and I was overwhelmed at the details thrust on me about my birth. It left me feeling like I had no value. I needed my dad to tell me he loved me. I was hungry for it. He remained absent.
When I was 13 years old he showed up. Wanted me to visit and gave me some attention. I received a pair of lilac colored brushed leather loafers in the mail as a gift from him. They matched nothing. I didn’t even really like them but I wore them ragged because I was so glad my dad sent them to me. I told everyone that they were from my daddy. After that I was in my own little heaven. He bought me a birthstone ring, a pair of jeans and came for me the next summer as well. Momma was being so nice about me visiting my absentee Dad, I thought everything was finally getting on track. Then right after school started back I turned 15 and a month later my Daddy died. All my hopes for the future with him was gone! I was hurt and I was angry. Angry that he didn’t tell me he had cancer. Angry because he only spent time with me to ease his conscience. Angry because Momma was being nice out of pity. Angry because I couldn’t go to his funeral (his body was shipped south and only a wake was held locally). I was angry because my family who talked negatively about him all the time was now being so nice. Why couldn’t they think of nice things to say when he was alive? The whole thing just made me mad. At fifteen years old I was experiencing all the conflicting emotions teenagers typically experience and I wasn’t making good decisions.
As time moved on, my bad decisions showed me how much I needed guidance so I sought God for forgiveness for my sins. A few years later I married young and started a family. It was during this time that I began to understand the dynamics that had taken place in my life. I began to understand the kind of man my dad was and accepted the fact that in spite of who he was, he was my dad.
I learned to accept him, and not measure my self-worth by how he treated me and the things my parents did. I saw the mercy of God that had been with me cause I could have ended up in a much worse condition. Acceptance freed me to be myself, not hiding or being ashamed of my parentage. It healed the hurt. God let me know that he would be a father to me and I’ve experienced that!
To God be the glory.