Tag Archive | father wound

My Real Dad

Driving home in the dark.  Deep in thought.  Pulled back for the thousandth time to the scary room.  I am small in my bed.  I must be five or six.  I am on the bottom bunk.  I look up at the wooden slats supporting the mattress above me.  The glow-in-the-dark stars are there so I won’t be afraid.  There’s an amazing mural painted on the wall.  The Cat in the Hat balancing on a ball.  My mom painted it.  My mom is the best artist I know.  Two squares of light appear in the corner and move slowly across the wall, then disappear into the closet.  After a minute they appear again, this time starting from the closet and moving in the opposite direction.  The fading whine and rumble was louder that time.  Must have been a truck.

The memory fades out and disappears.  I can’t remember what comes next.  I can’t remember why it’s so important.  What happened in that room?

My mind wanders to thoughts of my father.  I think about the prayer, the Big Prayer that went unanswered.  I prayed the Prayer for years with all the child-like faith, persistence, and courage I could muster.  I spent all my Hopes and Wishes on the one Big Prayer, the Prayer of my Life.  I laid it all down.  I bet the farm.  When God said no, things were never the same.

I asked God to make him Good.  I asked God to make him love Him.  I Needed a dad.  If God would just do this one thing, just this one small favor, I could live with the rest.  The Big Prayer was, ‘God, please make my dad Good’.  What I prayed in ignorance, I now know to be wrong.  God’s hands were tied.  He couldn’t answer my prayer.  God won’t force love.  It’s against His Religion.

  Focused on the road and the lights of the cars ahead of me, a thought comes to me.  It buzzes around like an annoying fly for some time before I even realize it’s there.  Here it comes again, a little louder this time… Let me be your Dad.  Hmm, I wonder.  What’s that supposed to mean?  Let me be your Dad. I think again, I’ll be your Dad. Now that’s just confusing.  Let me be your dad?  Whose dad?  And why dad?  Don’t I mean ‘let me be your mom’?  This just doesn’t make sense.  But here it comes again.  A thought so tender, so pained, so gentle.  Not controlling, not even urging.  Just a simple, quiet invitation, a patient, hopeful expectancy.  Let me be your Dad.  I want to be your Dad.  

 And then it dawns on me.  The source of the thought.  God is my Dad.  God has always been my Dad.  He’s the one who somehow kept me alive, kept me sane under impossible circumstances.  He’s the one, the only one, who has watched me and helped me build a life based on truth.  A life not free of mistakes, but always pressing on in the right direction.  He’s the one, the only one, who has always looked on with pride when I made the right decision, when I won success.  He’s the one, the only one, who has always cried with me when I suffered.  I bore up under the pain because of Him and only Him.  God is my Dad.

I struggle to keep the car on the road as my body begins to shake.  Tears flow freely from my eyes, turning the lights from the cars ahead of me into blurry X’s.  I’ve been given a gift.  A new Big Prayer.  The Prayer of my Life for the rest of my life.  God, you are my Dad.  You are my Real Dad.  You have always been my Real Dad.  Thank you for being my Dad.  Thank you for being such a Great Dad. 

A big black hole

I have a big black hole inside me where my parents should go.  I’m starting to realize just how deep it goes.  God has blessed me with wonderful relationships.  He has placed me in an extended family called the church and that family thrills and satisfies me and more than heals all wounds from the family I was born into.  With one exception.  The problem is with me.  I haven’t been able to sustain an intimate relationship with older men or women who look out for me the way moms and dads are supposed to look out for their kids.  I haven’t been able to trust or share my heart with anyone I sense wants that kind of relationship with me.  It’s not like I have a lot of offers anyway.  I appear so confident and competent.  I don’t seem to ‘need’ it but that confidence covers a deep unmet need I haven’t been able to show.  So how do you do it?  Has anyone reading this ever been able to find a mom or dad substitute who really cared, who fought for you, who called you out?  Have you been able to sustain a relationship that set things right and healed old wounds?  How?

All That Glitters

       My mother’s father is a very quiet man. While serving his country on a minesweeper in World War II, he learned several important skills that he still maintains to this day. He learned to eat rations. He learned to take 90 second showers. Most importantly, he learned to keep his head down and his eyes deep to avoid explosions.
     My grandmother, his wife, had toxic relationships with all five of her children. Her youngest daughter, my aunt, lived with her parents for several years without once speaking to her mother. They used grandpa as a giant human sticky note for the most important messages… “tell your wife I’m going out of town”… “tell your daughter I have cancer.”
     Like I said, grandpa never had much to say. Once when I was a young driver he gave me a piece of good advice. It was summer and grandpa and I were driving to a local strawberry farm to pick berries. I was still a little nervous about knowing when it was safe to pull out into traffic. Grandpa said, “If you wait long enough, it’ll be clear.” I call that Grandpa’s Law of Traffic. I got another nugget of wisdom from my uncle one day about kids’ art projects. I call it My Uncle’s Law of Glitter. He said, “No matter how much glitter you have, it’s too much!.” I have kids of my own now and I know how true that one is. I’ve got my Grandpa’s Law of Traffic and My Uncle’s Law of Glitter on a special shelf in a room inside of me. It’s my “I Wish I Had a Dad to Give Me Good Advice” room. There’s a lot of good stuff in that room: Aesop, Solomon, Tolstoy, the Reader’s Digest. I’ve been making deposits there since I was a kid.
     Since Grandma died, Grandpa started sending me Christmas Cards. He writes four words: “Merry Christmas, Love, Grandpa.” Grandpa turns 90 this year. I wonder how many more Christmas card’s there’ll be from him.
That makes me think about my dad. I see my dad regularly: about once every five years. We usually spend two days together. After two days we run out of things to say and one of us looks up and says, “Well, I guess I’ll be going now.” My dad’s now in his late sixties. I wonder how many more days there’ll be with him.
      I get jealous when I think about my dad. I’ve held a grudge against all girls named Melissa ever since the day my dad married her mom and she got to be with him instead of me. That marriage didn’t last very long, but I still feel jealous when I think about her. I’m jealous of the guys my dad worked with in the factory. They got to hear his corny jokes and his silly laugh day after day. My dad always laughs harder at his own jokes than anyone else in the room. Those guys had no idea what golden nuggets those laughs would have been for me. How I would have traded almost anything to be there to hear them.
     I guess the truth is I really miss my dad. I miss him in a way that even being with him cannot fix.