When I was growing up I always needed a dad, even if I didn’t want one. As I grew older, I wanted a dad, but didn’t need one. Either way, he was never there. It was the growing up without one that started the hardening of my heart, and I didn’t even know it. It didn’t happen in a day, not in a week, not even in a year. But after five decades, as he lay on his deathbed, I began to realize the depth of my heartlessness and how he might have figured into that blackness of my soul. In the end, I found I didn’t hate him. I just didn’t care about him. It was a lot easier and a lot less painful. The unending disappointments as a kid hurt. If you trained yourself, trained your mind, trained your heart that it didn’t matter, after awhile it didn’t hurt. Or at least you could pretend it didn’t. By the time he died, there were no tears. No concerns. No pain. I simply didn’t care. When he lay on his deathbed in a hospital whispering into the phone thousands of miles away how wrong he was, how he wished things had been different, how he should have spent more time with his children, I thought to myself these words come 50 years too late. You were an adult who decided to have five children, and it didn’t mean a thing to you until now?. Now as you see you have just moments more to live, is it my forgiveness you need? Because it sure isn’t my time you want. Or giving me that father’s guidance every young girl needs. He wanted my forgiveness, which I simply didn’t have. Now that he’s dead, it becomes about forgiving myself. I can’t even do that. Of the 50 years I spent with him on this earth, he never told me he loved me. Not once. He did hug me one time and I remember that hug as if it happened yesterday because I knew he meant it then. One time he read me a bedtime story on his lap. I was two years old, but I remember it. I have a few memories with him that I will share with you in these posts, not because of the personal stories, but because of the impact they had on my psyche. What I have come to learn is that I live on that hurt that I have buried. It is from which I derive my strength. It makes me feel I am stronger than the next person because I can withstand anything when you can withstand decades of rejection from the very person whose purpose in life is to build you up and accept you for who you are. It wasn’t even like what I did was enough to try to gain his love and attention. It was like I didn’t exist. If I forgive him, will it make me weaker? How will I withstand life’s challenges without that heartlessness to get me through? As a teenager, I cried every day, locked in a room asking God why He did this to me. Why did you give every other person I knew a dad and why didn’t I get one? The hardest part was that he wasn’t dead. Imagine if you had a dad who loved you and he died. You could cling to that love your whole life. But instead try to imagine a dad who is alive and just doesn’t care. He doesn’t know your birthday. He doesn’t know what grade you are in. He doesn’t know your favorite color or anything that is going on in your life. He simply doesn’t ask because he doesn’t care. Then on his deathbed, when he is 80 and I am 50, he whispered in a phone thousands of miles away how sorry he was. How he wished he had spent more time with his children. How he wanted to do it all over again. Was he looking for my forgiveness? I simply couldn’t give it. Perhaps it was more about forgiving myself. I still haven’t been able to do that. You live on that rejection to make you stronger. If you take that away, how will I get through life’s trials and tribulations? That’s what happens with a divorce and your dad marries a woman who hates children and he sides with her. Every time.
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Going through your relationships — one at a time
It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant. Love is not looking for the person you can live with, it’s looking for the person you can’t live without.
How do you know how to make friends? For some it seems so easy. For others, an impossibility. It’s not a question of trust. It’s not the one with the outgoing personality or the life of the party. It has to do with how you are raised. Did your mom encourage you to have friends? Was your dad a force in your life that showed you the importance of people beyond your family? If so, you are one of the lucky ones. If not, start going through the people in your life that meant something. Go through them one by one and examine what impact they had on you. What lessons you learned. What mistakes did you make? Did you repeat those errors? Probably not because there were new mistakes to be made. Let me tell you mine.
He’s the 1 — How do you know?
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed whether that be outwardly or inwardly. That person has come to assist you in a difficult time, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. What you must recognize is what is that need and when is it time to move on.
When people come into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, to grow or to learn. This may bring you the experience of peace or joy. The person may teach you something you have never done. Believe in that, but it is only for a season.
Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons — those necessary blocks upon which you must build in order to have a solid emotional foundation in life. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships in all areas of your life. It is about trying not to look back. Having no regrets. Living in the here and now while relying on those lifetime lessons to guide you as you move into the future.
This blog is meant for everyone who has had a friend and lost him. For every person who has found that soulmate but let him get away. For not realizing that the very person who was meant to help you through your life was looking right at you, and you turned away not knowing life would have been so much better in the long run if you could only have had the strength to get you through the difficult short run. Where were you to turn for that strength and knowledge? Why didn’t you know? Instead of moving forward, you spend a lifetime looking back. It made every one of life’s small steps so much harder because you weren’t looking forward — you were too busy looking over your shoulder.
May this blog touch your life and help you to get through another of life’s lessons.