Growing up without a father does different things to men & women, boys & girls.
My Dad lived with us but was an alcoholic. Hence, he wasn’t “present” with us much. Meaning he was checked out a large part of the time when he was at home. By day he worked as a radio announcer in country radio & man, what a strong booming voice he had for it – I can hear it bellowing through my mind it as I tap this out. He also, on the side, wrote a weekly editorial column in the local paper. He was a brilliant penman & had a hilarious sense of humor. Such a talented man. (As a side note, his father was an alcoholic as well. A sad perpetuation.)
When I was 19 I moved out & around that same time Dad finally got sober. I remember I was at home the bittersweet night he admitted he couldn’t live that way anymore, that he wanted help – he needed help. He was sitting at the kitchen table in a white t-shirt & boxers, with his face in his hands sobbing in surrendered desperation – the only light on him coming from the hood over the stove. Even now, I can see him sitting there. Probably the bravest thing he ever did during my lifetime. From my finite perspective anyway.
He passed away from lung cancer & other complications when I was 25, just 6 short years later. I wish now I had spent as much time with him as I could have those few years. But I was so caught up in my own world back then that I didn’t take the time. Hindsight & regret are forever intertwined on that one because I could have gotten to know him – this side of heaven. And what a gift that would have been. I do believe one day I will fully know him & he will fully know me. The same for all of us 6 kids. I have some columns in an old box that he wrote to give me that when I want it. Sometimes I pull them out & read through a few, laughing some, crying some. Especially when he mentions me as a little one. I miss our Dad.
Consequently I spent many years from teen to adult looking for love in all the wrong places. Cliche to say, yes – but my truth. I labored & clawed & tore away at life, trying to get any male figure to love me, in any possible way I could. Through drugs, sex – allowing myself to be abused. Trying to fit in somehow, somewhere. Anywhere. Please, just please love me. I’ll do anything. Anything. Just love me….
And I never found it. Not until I met Jesus.
So that’s what it did to me. And I could write so much more here but you get the gist of it.
And for men, I think with you guys not having a father – it leaves this gaping hole of a different kind. I realize not all of you react & live out in the same vein -you are the fortunate ones. But for some there is this insatiable need to feel important, accomplished – to make your mark in this world. It turns from just wanting to be good at something which is a basic human desire to an all-out war against yourself & everyone else – a race to beat time & doing it at all costs too. A driving force like no other that many times leads to addictions – not just your typical ones but the atypical too.
Some turn to gangs or drugs – where the need to belong & feel important can definitely be found, just in the worst kind of way. Or it may manifest in your relationships, draining the object of your affections to constantly make you feel important & admired etc. And because it’s never enough you are constantly looking around for anyone else who might occupy the void when who you are with isn’t “cutting it” – & how could they? That bottomless tank is impossible to fill. Or it may manifest in always being the victim – where it’s forever someone else’s fault that things aren’t going the way you’d hoped – in relationship, in business – whatever it may be. It can’t possibly be you – that would be well – wrong – right? Or maybe it’s just too painful to admit.
The ultimate irony is that admitting is the first step to recovery. The thing we are most afraid of – to look in that awful mirror. Admitting our powerlessness & the need for help to get off the wheel that spins round & round and never goes anywhere we want it to. And yet we have tried with all of our might. We really have. I sure did.
To cease striving to the point of almost & sometimes to the edge of death – to finally lay down in total exhaustion & to finally admit my way isn’t working? That is victory in the making.
There is a Father, a good Father.
There is One who really, really does care. One who loves us no matter what we do or don’t do.
He is always encouraging us to move forward into who we were created to be without force or manipulation – no matter what “church” may have wrongly taught us. Seriously.
He is there at every game, every performance, every race – every competition. And He is there at every failure. Cheering us on regardless & louder than any other voice. If we will just listen.
He wipes every tear, holds us when we are sick & desperate & angry & confused – loving us back to wholeness in ways we cannot even comprehend. If we will allow Him to. If we will just believe.
He longs to be seen for who He really is, not through the filter of our earthly fathers. And I realize that’s no easy feat, but it is attainable. I know that 100% to be truth.
From one orphaned heart to another.
Much Love & acceptance & real help to break free of our wheels,
Psalm 68:5 He is the father of the fatherless…
(Courtesy of chimpsanctuarynw.org)