Though I pride myself for being independent and most of the time, I do like to be left alone (even by my family and relatives), I guess it’s an innate desire for all of us to spend time with family once in awhile. And that yearning came up and tapped me in the shoulder three weeks back.
I haven’t seen my dad in a year and it was a bit sad (and I must admit, quite nostalgic) to see him last Sunday after so long. You see, we’re the second family and it was a bit weird growing up without him because my brother and I always thought that he’s just way too busy and that he sleeps in the office, as what my mom used to tell us, that’s why he rarely comes home. We have gotten so used to him not being there that finding out the truth when I was eleven years old wasn’t really that painful and a shock anymore. The hurt came mostly from the lies that were fed to us by our parents, not so much on his absence.
And after my mom’s death in 2005, his thrice a year visits became lesser. And I was fine with it. I didn’t like the additional drama and emotions involved. Besides, what will I tell him? He was never a father to me, I thought. All the chitchats we have when we see each other never seem to get past the shallow stuff of my current job, where i live, what I’m up to that moment (which I believe is the same for my brother). So I almost gave up on the thought that I would have a relationship with him at the age of 28. I never had that father-daughter bond growing up, why start now?
But knowing God in my life has changed all that. God filled the void that was left by an absentee father as only He can. But as years passed of being a Christian, I know that deep down, I still yearn not for an earthly dad, but the peace that comes after a reconciliation, forgiveness of a past hurt. I realized that just like any other child, knowing that your dad couldn’t be with you and your brother growing up because you’re both illegitimate, have caused deep pain that has affected how I view relationships, family and fatherhood albeit subconsciously. And the only way I can get past that is to forgive and let go of it.
Concluding the Will You Series in church two Sundays ago was the topic on Forgiveness and reiterating what Ptr. Joshua Galaraga said, “Forgiving is ultimately an act to free yourself from the bondage of pain and hurt, it’s not really for the other person.” I knew that I need to do something about it. And I have been carrying this hurt for the longest time, I guess. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have manifested the way it did whenever Jay and I would talk about family and having kids in the future and my answer would always be peppered with the fear that I will be a single mom eventually.
I have made peace with myself and lifted up the hurt to Him who is merciful to restore relationships. I realized that despite the lack of relationship I have with my dad, the respect and love I have for him ultimately is more than the hurt he has caused our family. The God I serve is a God that prioritizes family more than anything and I know that with Him it is never too late to have that. We can still have that relationship I have yearned for so long.
Seeing the fine lines on his face, the bloated hands that are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, seeing him sweating from the heat of the commute when he looked so dashing and sharp when he was younger and not bogged down with age and regrets, it pierced my heart. While I know the three of us could never live together as one happy family, we could all start being one despite being apart. We need to forgive each other and let go of the pain the past has caused us all and allowing God and our love for each other, no matter how little, no matter how scarred, to bind us three together.
For He said in His Word that, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:)
And with that I say, I love you Dad, and I forgive you.
If mom was alive, I’m sure she’d be the happiest in this.