Fathers protect the family. Fathers love the family. Fathers stay; they do not leave like mine did. And despite his return many years later, he has yet to regain my full trust because I live in fear of the day that he chooses to leave again.
However, this post is not about my brokenness but about his. It never occurred to me until today that as much as I used to hate my father, he probably hates himself so much more for what he did.
I cannot even imagine trying to love someone else while fully aware of the wife and two daughters that he left behind.
Or the anguish he felt when his own children refused to see him, to call him, to even acknowledge his existence. The shamefulness that shrouded his body and labeled him as a pariah among his closest friends and family. The beaten pride of a man who was once the breadwinner of the family and now despite all his offers, they refused his support.
Looking in the mirror he would see a pathetic, weak, foolish and incapable coward. A man who grew up without a father and ultimately gave his children the same fate. He bestowed his past pain and sorrows upon his children who had still yet to be scarred by the world.
And years later when he was allowed to return, to be acknowledged, all he could do was offer money. To extend a hand full of gifts that would rot and deteriorate. Worthless treasures that widened the fractured heart of his past loved ones.
How could such a man live with himself?
I do not know how my father stubbornly held onto his will to live but I do know that he truly believes it was all due to him. It was his will, his actions, his heart, his soul, and his luck. God had no place in it whatsoever.
And that is why I cried out to God this morning. Pleading shouts that were not spoken but kept tightly inside my heart, my mind. I asked Him over and over again to please deliver my father. To show him what You showed me– that I was not left fatherless because You did not leave my side, and that you never left my father’s side either despite his resentment and bitterness of living a hard and disappointing life.
I was so focused on my own reflection that it didn’t occur to me that what I held was not a mirror but a coin. A coin once flipped revealed the side which was always there but concealed. It existed from the beginning but it’s as if a mental defense mechanism refused to let me think about how a coin is double-sided. How pain can be felt by not only the victim but the perpetrator as well.
My father suffered even more greatly than I have and now I pray with all of my might and heart that he may be saved.
Fathers make mistakes but children should forgive because love is precious and we must all fight to save what is lost,