Dear Dad

on

Dear Dad,

I wonder what I would have called you… Dad, Daddy, etc… I know that by this point in our lives, I would have given you a thousand nicknames. This feels a little strange, writing a letter to someone that I don’t know but is somehow half of me. I like to do life face-to-face, but often life doesn’t like to supply that option. So for now, I guess I will just write a letter to you and send it nowhere because I don’t know how to send mail to the dead. If you have any insight on that, a letter back would be nice. And scary.

I didn’t even know that I had issues with you before coming to live here. I guess living with a father-in-law full time really brought those daddy issues right to the top. He would be happy to know that he got under my skin… haha. He would be even happier to know that it is helping become what I feel like you had always hoped for me: happy. I don’t really know what you would have hoped for I suppose… I just know that we would have liked each other. Of course you would have loved me… but I think that we really would have enjoyed the company.

I guess if I have any issue at all with you it is this — I don’t know you. I have believed for my whole life that I was just supposed to love you without knowing you. And I took that and I ran with it. And I did the same thing to Abba. Do I love God the Father? Of course I do. He is my Father. Do I invest time into Him specifically? No, I do not. I picture Him like I picture you, smiling silently, as if snatched right from a photograph. Because that is all I know of you, a moment in time before you became less than you. I hear stories about you, and how wonderful and brilliant you were, and I see them look for you in my eyes. But it’s not you who they should be looking for… It’s Him.

I’ve let you, or the lack of you, define so much of me. I don’t remember feeling this when I was younger, praise the Lord, but I do feel like I can’t live up to the memory of you. I feel like they see you when they look at me, and I can’t be like you because I don’t know you. I respect you and honor you as my father, but I can’t say that I feel like I belong to you. I guess that is because I don’t. I gave my heart to Abba when I was only 12. I didn’t know then that it was the most important decision I would ever make.

I can’t control what happens to me; I can only respond in the best way possible. I can say honestly that I have not made the best of these 34 years I have been given so far. I have done wonderful things, seen places I only dreamt about, and met some of the most incredible people, all of who I carry with me, some who became family. I love a man who loves Jesus more than me, and that is all I ever wanted in a husband. I know that you would have loved him. Because I think he loves me the way you loved mom.

I think I am writing this because I have to let you go.

I watch mom still being in love with you after all this time, and all I want for her is to be free from that burden. To mourn someone who cannot return… it is a grief that can be un-ending. If it is what I preach, then it must be what I practice. I have to let go of the hope of one day having a conversation with you. I have to lay down the birthday wishes of one conversation with you. I have to leave you, and all that entails, at the feet of Jesus. I can’t wish or hope for things that are not His will.

I belong to a holy and royal family now; and the history runs deep. I pray that you are a part of this family. I can only hope that you loved Jesus, that you really knew Him, and that you chose Him. My heart yearns for your salvation; that when you left here, that you went into His arms. I won’t know until I take the same journey; I cannot see what is not meant for me to see. This I do know and see: God is good. And I trust Him. Even in the unknowing, I lay down my disbelief at His feet.

I have to let go of the image and creation I have made you into. I chose to believe that you were wonderful, and that we would have been three peas in a pod, but I have to let go of what I have allowed your absence to do in my life. I have to forgive myself for treating Abba like He was you — human. It’s not your fault that you are not here; I know you would be here if you could. But I have to let go of the “what if?” in my life. I have to accept where I am, look behind me and see all the miles that have been walked, get cleaned up, and get back on the road. But this mile marker… this is where the idea of you is left behind me.

I will continue to be curious about you. I will ask about you every chance I get. I will still look for ways to know you, because after all, I am part you. But here is where I choose to let you just be a man, and not a father who was silent. Here is where I stop comparing you to God the Father, Abba Eternal, the Beginning and the End, and all that is Holy and Good. I boxed Him in and blamed you, and that isn’t fair. I boxed Him in — you didn’t make Him so small. But your absence made the lies much louder.

Thank you for loving my mother. Thank you for loving me. I pray you are with Him, enjoying the Beauty. As much as I have wished in the past that things would have been different, today I am grateful for who God has made me, what He has given me, and how I know Him. From here forward, I am not fatherless. I belong to Father of Lights, the King of Glory, the God of all Creation. I have been adopted into the royal family and I believe that God can heal this chasm in my heart. I believe He is greater than my loss, greater than my pain, and greater than my humanity. I truly believe that He is who He says that He is: GOOD.

 

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