We don’t wait until we lose our father to reflect on what we have or had. Sometimes, others’ losses should wake us up to appreciate our own, not just in words but mostly in actions.
A simple phone call here and there. Even if it only lasts only a second.
A smiley face in a text.
A quick video call.
A “Thinking of you” delivery dinner...ideas are endless.
The most important act of love, to me, is forgiveness. Many have not met their biological father. Many have no idea who he was or is. Many have lost him at an early age. And all, perhaps, will trade all their possessions, large or small, to spend one minute with this man. Oh! How life can be unfair sometimes - peculiar to say the least.
I still have my father. He is not perfect, but who is? I have a lot to reproach him but am I without reproach? I think he could have done better. Can I do better? Am I a better parent? A better provider? A better spouse?
Who defines “better”?
What defines “better”?
Can we really be better than our parents? The ideal will answer yes. That’s off course, every parent wish for their offspring. Yet, we all know the adage, right! The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.
It’s easy and maybe fair to judge the past. But it will be more noble to be honest with the present. Who are we? However present or absent he was or is in our lives, who will we be without him?
My father was my first love. He was my “Jesus” growing up. He could never do wrong. It was always mom’s fault. In my teen years, it shook me to discover that my father was human after all, full of unsettling complexities. If my father were a boyfriend, I would have probably dumped him, blocked his number, and unfriended him from Facebook. Unfortunately, I was my father’s daughter – an extension of those unlikable complexities. An extension divinely assigned that neither he nor I could cut off from. A connection not even death could obliterate.
Have you ever asked yourself if your father would have wished to have a child other than you? Maybe he would’ve preferred a more accomplished daughter – more educated, assertive, wealthier - a more forgiving or understanding daughter, one who married well (whatever that means!), the list can go on. If he had a choice, would he pick you?
Now that you are on your own, free from his grips (either physical or emotional), hopefully, how are you doing? If you had a choice, would you pick yourself as your own child?
Human nature loves to point fingers; as if it’s allergic to compliments, encouragements, recognition, compassion, empathy – better yet, unconditional love.
I would not be writing from the comfort of my world today if it wasn’t for my father. I would not be living if it wasn’t for his approval. Do you know how many babies are aborted simply because the father refused paternity?
God allowed. My father, as young as he was – as untrained as he was – as unsure as he was – as confused as he was, HE OWNED UP. He acknowledged his responsibility. Therefore, I WAS APPROVED.
(This is not to dismiss those whose fathers run away. They were approved still – by their mothers. If we are, then we were approved. This act of acceptance must count for something.)
All those years, my pain clouded my judgment. My frustrations sewed a rift between us. My disappointments misled me. It’s only by looking through the same window that I can see now what he saw. And there again, I’m not confident to have accurately seen because he and I don’t share the same upbringing, the same experiences, or the same load of rejections and pains.
I was quick to judge dad. I was quick to brush him off. I asked for forgiveness.
He did his best. He gave his best. And he still is. I’m grateful.
We all will say goodbye one day. Some of us may not be able to, but one thing is certain: we will all go. Now, for some of us who still have our dads around, what do we do in the meantime?
We don’t try to change them to our crippled chimera of who they should be. We love them the same way we believe God loves us, with our unending imperfections. We create memories. We are grateful to know them. We are thankful to have them.
In all, we forgive. We love. We cherish. And we get ready.
Much love Dad!
Photo credit: Kampus Production