The Void of a Father
I have been estranged from my dad since I was a freshman in high school. The month before my fifteenth birthday he packed a suitcase and left our home, never to return. When I asked him where he was going he said, “Why do you care?”
Throughout high school I continued to invite my dad to school plays, marching band performances, anything I was a part of. He never came. My one wish for my high school graduation was that my dad would sit in the crowd and watch me receive my diploma. I was in the top 10% of my class and I had a seat in the front row. If he came, he was sure to see me amidst my 500 or so classmates. I prayed for my dad to come see this final event in my high school career and miraculously he said he would be there.
That day, he didn’t show. I felt as if my prayers had fallen on deaf ears. I felt very, very alone. No longer did I mourn for my absent father. I had shed too many tears. Now, I was just angry.
I was angry at God for saddling me with a dad who didn’t love me back. I allowed this anger to consume me. It was so much easier to be angry because then I didn’t have to deal with the ache I felt. This anger bled over into other areas of my life, though. Once I allowed myself to be angry at my dad I started getting mad any time my feelings got hurt.
At Hope, as a young, married twenty-something I decided to try Redemption Groups when they were first offered. The hard pill to swallow was discovering I was the ONLY woman there to deal with anger. Every other woman had what I considered to be a more acceptable sin– like anxiety. People want to help you if you are anxious — like a modern day damsel in distress. But, if you are the girl who gets angry when she gets hurt, no one feels bad. So, to be that girl, the only girl, who admitted to needing to deal with anger was tough.
Through Redemption Groups I dug to the root of my anger and discovered that there was a part of me that didn’t believe God loved me enough. I didn’t trust that God’s love could fill the void left by my dad — or that he would provide for me.
Knowing how to respond to my dad out of love is still a battle I fight every day. It’s hard to forgive someone who doesn’t love you the way you need them to. It’s hard wanting a relationship with that person and knowing your feelings aren’t reciprocated. But we don’t always love God back, and yet he pursues us. He never gives up on us. This is a lesson I keep on learning.