I’ve been wanting to watch the movie Unconditional for a while now and I’m really glad I took time to watch it. I HIGHLY recommend it. (Available on Netflix and at Christian bookstores on DVD) This story of Joe Bradford’s life is a call to action to all of us to reach out and touch the life of an at risk child who has never experienced unconditional love.
I cried as I watched the story play before me. We can get so caught up in our hurt, our pain, and our experience that we forget about those who are suffering without any hope. I am trying to do my part by spreading the word about healing and forgiveness when faced with abandonment and neglect… even still I know there is so much more hands on work to do. Truth is, my message now is reaching those who have grown up and might be looking for hope of a change in the way they feel or haven’t felt for a long time. However, I hope to one day meet the kids in the moment, in the middle of the hurt…and offer them the solution: faith in God, the eternal Father of us all.
I’m a believer because I have felt the power of love like a relentless force of magnetism to all things good, hopeful, and fulfilling in God. I’m not pushing an ideal…I’m testifying about a real, personal experience!
The blog is evidence of that.
Anyway, enjoy this teaser clip from the movie that displays some of the absent father dynamics:
I will keep you all up to date in how I’m reaching out to at-risk kids in North San Diego County so that you can join in the fight to make unconditional love a rule in our communities.
The book is still in revision but on track to be published this year! Stay tuned!
After posting the Wonder of Watching, it hit me that this disposition of observation is evidence of growth from a very different place in my experience.
Forever, I have had the look of longing. How could I not be somewhat envious of girls with dads to hold them when they’re sad and rub their shoulders when they feel uptight? How could I not be jealous of the girl excited for her daddy/daughter date? How could I not stop from crying when I’m watching a movie with a dad risking everything to the very inch of his own life to rescue his daughter? (Even though the movie Taken portrays a dad that is grossly unrealistic… there is only ONE Liam Neeson. lol) How could I not feel slighted by the lack of any great fatherly advice or protective stories from childhood?
I’ll tell you how I could. Gratitude. I have come to a place where I realize that for every good dad/daughter relationship, there’s a dozen I am thankful to not be part of. Whether your dad is a drunk, criminal, bully, or deadbeat… there is always a worse scenario. How can I long for something more than what I already have? Do I not trust I have all I need? If I have been slotted for less than the next, it is for a reason. If I have been given a harder test, I have the wherewithal to overcome. God gives strength to us to meet the challenges with confidence. There is grace to see others with more and still be content. Your lot is yours for a reason. Live knowing this.
If you have a look of longing, reset your focus, think of 100 ways things could be worse, and be thankful instead.
Gratitude is the remedy to a longing heart.
Today I watched a dad surprise his two girls (who appeared to be about 10 and 12) with two MacBook Air computers. No occasion. No reason other than that they’d wanted it for a while and he wanted to surprise them.
I watched the girls squeal in disbelief and begin hugging and kissing him gratefully. He stood stiff as a wooden pillar, turning red in the face. He just wanted them to know he cared without saying so.
I sucked in my breath as I watched. These girls have what every girl needs. The MacBook Airs can be easily replaced by froyo on a hot day or a new beach ball. The gift is not what’s important… it’s the loving adoration of a dad that cares about what you want… not just what you need.
To every girl who has never had anything close to a moment like what I witnessed today, take heart. Your father in heaven loves you more than any man ever could. Though the human aspect of relationship is nice, it is not altogether required for an enriched life with God as your father.
As quickly as my heart sank watching… knowing I would never experience what the girls obliviously cherish, I am encouraged to know I have the BEST father there is in God and he takes care of much bigger things than computers on a wish list. He gave me a clean heart, he takes care of me and keeps me from the defilement of the world. Not to mention the car, puppy, jobs, and other countless things a natural dad can only go so far to provide.
I’m thankful for what I have and hope I’ve encouraged someone to see things through a different lens.
At some point, I heard the statement, “sometimes perspective is more important than results.” I thought about this for a while and it brought me to a couple conclusions.
Lets start with this; have you met one of those people that are happy all the time? They irk you because no matter what happens to them they remain full of joy. I think it bothers the rest of us because we envy that perspective; we envy the ability to remain joyful in the midst of the worst scenarios.
I am not saying that we have to always be happy but what I am saying is that the perspective changes everything. I have recently started to accepting life’s situations as an opportunity rather than an obligation. This alteration of my worldview has resulted in a better lifestyle; a much more joyous one. At any point, I am able to look at any situation and see the good in it, even if it is a miserable one.
A law of physics tells us everything goes from order to disorder… I disagree when it comes to me and you. Maturation of a soul has no end and every situation along the way is an opportunity to develop into something greater.
Start looking at life’s situations as an opportunity and see what changes.
Check out the website: http://www.daddybrokemyheart.com for more information about the DBMH Project and Keila Harris’ upcoming book testifying to the healing power of forgiveness.
Sometimes the deepest, hidden parts of me that are hard to express pour out of me in the form of poetry. Have you written artistically about a struggle or fear? Share in the comments section!
Unveiled I stand, in the midst of a grand audience of onlookers, feelers, supporters, and my own fear…
Revealed by the ache in my voice, emotions in a haze, my vision unclear.
Naked without the covering of my lies
The lies I told myself to hide
Hide from the reality outside the walls
The walls that stall the people who surround me
from reaching me…who I am beneath
Beneath the façade of carefree
Woe is not the load I carry
But my definition of freedom is limited to the anxiety of being betrayed by somebody
Because no one owes me more than the man who walked away from me
The man who bore me with his own flesh and yet
Alone without him and any hope of ever knowing what trust looks like
Estranged from my faith in possibility
I drown my self in the very thing that keeps…
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Once you know what it’s like to be left without a cause, you can react to the abandonment by staying away from any commitments so you can avoid the possibility of failure or you attach yourself to people, things, and processes that make you happy – fixating yourself with a dog-like loyalty that is not easily broken.
I’ll discuss avoiding commitment next week. Today, I wanted to start a dialogue around this concept of fixated loyalty. As with anything, balance is a MUST to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Channelling the tendency into good things can make you a better person than the privileged people who have never suffered neglect from their dad.
From my own experience, I’ve found my tendency to fixate my loyalty to be beneficial to living my life to the fullest. I am committed to serving God, no matter what the cost or where it takes me. My love for Him is deep and true and not anyone or anything even slightly compares. My fixation blinds me to alternatives and keeps me focused on being obedient so I can be blessed and life a good life. Because anything less than a good life would include heartache and grief and I’ve suffered enough already…I trust God to keep me from breaking down, being my helping hand and comfort through any times of difficulty. And He has been that and so much more. Simply knowing that God would be devastated if I walked away from Him and went my own way is enough to keep me connected.
The same goes for my health, friendships, projects… anything! The balance comes into play when betrayal and deceit enters the scene and compromises the connection. A friend and mentor was struggling through some personal issues and disconnected herself from me. In the midst of my hurt and disappointment, I was determined to prove myself… prove that I was good enough, that I was worth loving. Though the disconnect had nothing to do with me, I was being sideswiped and stripped of any power to maintain the connection. Years passed before I was able to realize that nothing is ever personal. If someone chooses to live life without you when you planned to stick it out till the end, you have to let them go. Loyalty, after all, is a two way street.
You cannot allow yourself to be so loyal that you empower people to take advantage of the fixation. Know that you are worthy to receive the same time and dedication you put out. Don’t sell yourself short obsessing over staying connected. Most times you gain more in letting go than you ever could stubbornly holding on.
Pretending is encouraged in our society.
“Fake it till you make it”
“Put your game face on”
“Don’t let your feelings get in the way”
There are endless lines of encouragement with a subtext communicating the need to ignore the negative, inconvenient hindrances and get to where you’re going.
In some cases, like pressing to work, church, or the gym, and ignoring how you feel is self-discipline. Very important distinction between self-discipline, which is strength, and denial, false strength.
Pretending you don’t have a broken heart after being rejected by someone you cared deeply about is not going to help you. Acting like being stood up is no big deal to ease the sting is dishonest. Saying that the absence of your father has not affected your life negatively does not make it true. You can’t fake away bruises. You can’t game face your way out of already being broken.
Real strength and self-discipline requires the expression of true feelings amidst different situations. Many artists do this through music. Others through their own chosen art form. I have chosen words to express myself and have been tons better for it.
Do not let what you wish to be and strategic appearances of being strong cripple you. Be honest about where you are. Be strong in being vulnerable. Pretending to be strong will only cause your true weakness to blindside you.
Get angry. Get sad. Feel. Cause being true to how you feel is being real.
Whoever coined the phrase “ignorance is bliss” must have been replying to Solomon when he wrote, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (Eccles. 1:18) If you consider the idiom from a broad perspective, anyone who adopts such a frivolous perspective is quite selfish. Sure, knowing children are dying everyday from hunger, sexual abuse, and abandonment is a rough fact to stomach, but not knowing does not change the facts.
I’m taking this a step further. Knowing is not enough either. Is it worse to know there’s a homeless person freezing just beyond your door and leave him there than to know he’s there and call and inform a shelter or offer a blanket? Of course the former is much worse than the latter. Knowledge must move us to do something. Knowledge requires action. Perhaps you have no money to donate to a cause that alleviates the misfortunes of our world. What you do have is a voice. Knowing creates the obligation to share and spread awareness. Awareness then enables other players to change the game with the resources they have… a domino effect of good. So, how then, can ignorance be accepted as blissful?
All of my adolescent years were spent in the false world of bliss, ignorant of the deep searing pain of being abandoned by my dad. The problem with false worlds is that one day truth comes to demolish every square inch of deceit, leaving you in the ruins of confusion.
I wish I could go back and tell my dad I did indeed miss him… even if I’d shut off the feelings of missing him. I wish I could return to the day he left, to cry tears where he could see each violently fall to the floor instead of silently soaking my pillow in the middle of the night. I wish… I wish…
What can I do now? Explore my emotions, know my feelings, and express them now.
Every relationship is worth my fair shot of honesty in the moment.
How do you express yourself honestly in the moment?