Haven't we all heard someone say, "It takes a real man to be a dad but anyone can be a father?" I used to get so irritated when I would hear someone say that and I wasn't sure why. I would find myself just rolling my eyes and dismissing their comment, "whatever." I am starting to understand why I used to get so irritated at this saying. I guess I never really understood what it was like to have a dad. My parents split before I was 6 years old and I am still a little foggy about what happened before my mother left him. I do remember being terrified of him, cops showing up at our house because of screams from my mother, and I remember beer cans being around the house. So, my earliest memories shaped my view of men in a very negative way. I saw men, all men, as someone who was going to hurt me, get what they wanted from me, leave me, and reject me. I didn't think any man could ever be "good" to a woman and I absolutely didn't think men had feelings like love, compassion, and kindness. For years I was resentful of my father. Why didn't my father take care of me? Why didn't he want me? What is wrong with me? Why is alcohol so much more important than me to my father? If he really loved me he would quit drinking and start playing an active role in my life.
I so badly wanted my father in my life. There were several times I tried to have a relationship with him but the results were always the same. I would end up disappointed, rejected, and hurt. Several years back I was done, tired of trying. Then he got sick. Since he spent so many years drinking his life away, literally, a disease we didn't know he had started to present itself and was made worst by his drinking habits. I tried this relationship thing again and was by his side while he went through detox induced DT's (delirium tremens) in ICU. If you haven't seen someone detox, and I hope you haven't, it is terrible. They kick, hit, spit, see/hear things that aren't there, and say the worst things you could imagine. After the detox passed I sat by his side watching him recover. I cherish this time now and always. I really got to know my father. I watched bull riding with him, saw him interacting so pleasantly with the nurses, listened to him share stories, and got to understand that he was such a great farmer/rancher. He was such a great person under all of the alcohol induced negative behaviors. I never knew him like that before. I was so excited. After several weeks it was time for him to go home. We got him all settled and through the help of my wonderful grandparents my father was able to return to his newly fixed up house. He had several changes waiting for him that would make living at home possible like meals on wheels and new grab bars for standing up. Things seemed to be going so well. Finally! A few weeks after returning home I called to talk to him. I knew as soon as he answered the phone something wasn't right. He was hammered... I don't mean just drunk but crying, screaming belligerently intoxicated. I was devastated..... How could this happen? But God, I prayed for him, he was doing so well. He's surely going to die now.
Sad to say we went through the detox process a few more times and each time I met it with a sense of optimism, this would be the time he would stay sober. Wrong. So terribly wrong. The last time I saw my father he threw me out of his house so he could see some of his friends who are known around town as drug users. Today my father is still sitting in his house, weak, sick, probably drinking and doing who knows what kind of drugs.
For years I was so mad at my father. Why was I the one taking care of him when he never choose to do the same for me? I could have just left him when he needed me but I didn't. What was God thinking? Why did God do this to me? Why would God let him start drinking again? Out of all of the fathers why did I have to get this one? These were all of the questions I would ask myself when I would sit down to my own little pity parties. These are justifiable questions but the answers don't really matter. In the end the author of the book Limitless is right when he says in chapter four "If we wallow in self-pity, we will become more pitiful and limit our lives. If we stay in Jesus and meditate on what He's accomplished on our behalf we magnify His great work, and as we do this, we worship HIm. The result is that daily we are transformed into His image, releasing His limitless life through us."
My father's situation isn't about me. As much as this process has hurt me and impacted me, it isn't about me. It is about God. It is about his plans for me and the greatness I can accomplish, through Jesus, by having experienced this. I don't have to have the perfect Earthly father to have the most amazing heavenly daddy, Abba! I know what it is like to have an Earthly father that leave, hurts, and destroys which has been able to show me how opposite God is. God is nothing like that! He loves, never leaves, and comforts me always. Through Jesus I have been able to forgive my Earthly father and I can say that I love my father despite everything that I've been through with him. Although I don't have a close relationship with him I am now thankful for him and his role in my life. He has helped to make me tough as nails not hardened to the world. I have many of his qualities that make me who I am including a genuine concern for people, ability to talk to anyone about anything, and his eyes. We have beautiful eyes. Also, I am most thankful for my father because he gave me the family I have. I have the best aunts and uncles who have stepped in and stepped up to care for me in place of my father. My uncle demonstrated what a loving husband/father is and when I found that type of man my uncle was there to walk me down the isle. My uncle encourages me, loves me, calls me just to check in, and has treated me just like one of his own children which is a great honor because he has wonderful children. My aunts have done the very same thing! They've treated me with love and kindness that is without limits. I love all of them so dearly and I would never be able to tell you how much I appreciate them. I would never have had them without my father.
So, instead of being resentful I have become thankful and magnified the good in the situation. It hasn't been quick and it hasn't been easy. There are times when I fall back into the pity party mode but being thankful and seeing God's hands in the situation is so much better.
Thank you friends for reading this long post.