Happy Father’s Day

Every holiday congers up intense emotions for people that can be happy or sad. Father’s Day is no exception to the rule. For those who had/have amazing Dad’s it is the perfect time to celebrate them. Some people are sadly mourning their father’s passing. Then there are those who are bitter and angry about their father being absent in their life. Our pastor at church shared with the congregation today how he had forgave his father for abandoning his family. It was through forgiveness that he became free.
This story reminded me of my own Dad. We didn’t have the greatest relationship in the world. My Dad battled alcoholism most of his life, and it broke my family apart. I spent most of my life being angry at him (for some very good reasons). I had an image of what a Dad should be, and he never lived up to my expectations. I shut him out of my life to protect myself from being further hurt by him.
In late August of 2000, I was driving to morning mass and listening to “Focus On The Family” with James Dobson. He had on 3 “deadbeat” dads and he was asking them why they had abandoned their children. I listened closely to each Dad describe their situation. One Dad spoke about how much he loved his children. He spoke about how hurt his children were every time he saw them. It broke his heart and was it was unbearable for him to see them in pain. So he decided not to be present in their lives because he thought it was better for them. The light bulb went off in my head!! That was my Dad!! He didn’t abandon me because he didn’t love me. My Dad stepped aside because that is what he thought would be best for me! He didnt want to cause me more pain. I cried because I knew it was the truth. In that moment I finally forgave him. Our pastor was right, forgiving is freeing.
I had planned to call my Dad, to let him know, but put off my phone call. On, September 7th, 2000, only a few days after listening to the radio, my sister called me to tell me my Dad died of a heart attack. I was shocked! I was mad at myself for never calling him to let him know. Yet, for the first time in my life I was free to love him like never before.
I flew to where he was to take care of his affairs and final resting. In his pocket the night he died was his 5 year sobriety chip. He did it!! He was sober! I met his friends who were all from AA. He was the Dad I had envisioned.
I miss my Dad. I’m thankful for that radio program because his passing would have been even more difficult. I feel my Dad’s presence and love ALL the time.
The take home message is forgiveness and love. It’s never too late to forgive and choose love. Happy Father’s Day Dad!!

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