Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

I came into Father’s Day apprehensive.  My last two sessions in therapy were about how to handle this day.  I have dreaded this day every year for many years.  Trying to figure out how to interact with my dad, whether or not to get him a gift.  Do I have to spend time with him? 

A few days ago an idea popped into my head for a gift.  I stumbled upon a song he mentioned about 15 years ago by an artist I’d never heard of.  How I found it at just this time and remembered that my dad wanted that song, I will leave for you to decide.  I believe I was guided.  I’ve let God know that I am willing to do this work and He is helping me.  Showing me that He’s got my back.
I spent many hours putting together this very personal gift for my dad.  Songs from his youth on two cds.  I was starting to think Father’s Day might not be so bad.  (I also made his favorite dessert, which is traditional.)

The morning went well at home with my husband and kids.  I went to church in a good mood.  The speaker was the son of one of my dad’s best friends from a few years ago (he passed away when I was in high school, I think).  He talked about his dad, and other crusty men, and how they parent.  How they show love.  He talked about the things his dad taught him.  Many things he said touched my heart in a very personal way.  I felt a love and tenderness for my dad that I don’t think I’ve ever felt before.  It was healing for me.
As I listened to him speak I realized that my dad loved me in the only way he knew how, the only way he saw modeled as he grew up.  He provided for us and prepared us for the world.  He taught his kids to be hard workers.  Teaching us independence was important to him.  Teaching us to help others.  To be good people.  He never learned how to be tender.

In that moment, I felt impressed that I could be the one to teach him how to love me.  It wasn’t modeled before him, but I can model it.
Part of that is learning how to speak up when he says or does something unkind.  I need to be able to tell him when he hurts my feelings.  Something to work on in therapy.

I went up to his house determined to lead.  I can choose the relationship I have with him now no matter what relationship we had in the past.  Choosing a good relationship now doesn’t mean the past doesn’t matter, just that I don’t have to live there anymore.
I walked in and went right over and gave him a hug (I could count the number of hugs we’ve ever shared on one hand).  I presented him with his treat and then his gift.  He was receptive to all my offerings.  It was a good moment.

I don’t think I’m through it all.  There is still some fear that I struggle with.  And this was a good mood day for both of us.  But I feel like it’s more important than ever that I heal this.  I used to wish I could put off doing my therapy work regarding him until he was dead.  That would be easier.  Then I realized I needed to do it now for my own peace of mind.  Now I understand that if I am going to help him learn to show love in a way his family can feel, then I need to hurry.  He’s a healthy 70-years old, but our time is still limited.
Our Sunday School lesson was on having that mighty change of heart.  Letting Christ change us.  Choosing to give away all our sins to know God.  And sometimes beating our head against the brick wall to help someone change because we are being prompted to keep trying.

Our Young Women lesson was on forgiveness.  Letting go of hurts and insults is for us, to heal us.  And as we do, we can model for others.  Maybe they will see our behavior and our joy and seek to find it for themselves.  Forgiving others brings us peace.  And serving those who have wronged us helps us forgive them.
Everywhere I turned today was something guiding me toward healing my relationship with my dad.  This was not a day of coincidences.  This was God saying, “Keep going.  I’m with you all the way.”


  1. Whew! That was an emotionally exhausting read. Very very awesome. You are moving forward, and that's what's important. Inspiring. :)

  2. Wow. This is just such a hopeful, healing post. I'm so happy that your day went well, and that God helped you through it.

  3. It's hard work my friend. But that was beautiful! Love ya!

  4. Keep up the good work. You're mission is possible :D

  5. Wow! This was a very powerful post. I'm visiting from my parenting blog where you left a comment. I'll try to check out your other blogs as well. God bless and take care!


  6. This is a lovely post!! Thank you for sharing!!

  7. What an amazing gift you are giving both yourself and him! You are so brave in trying to change the way you handle your time with him.

  8. It sounds like you are doing all the rights things! I had a rough go with my dad too. But we are great now. Sometimes it just takes time.

  9. It is never fun when our dads don't act right I had two both were nincompoops - is that how you spell that? Not sure. It's painful but God has healed everything in me the same as He is doing for you :) He's faithful and it will all work out. Thank you for visiting my blog on Sits day- true my blog is popular and that's why I had some nasty comments but don't ever let that stop you from reaching for the sky :) Your dreams should never be hindered by what people do to you on the outside dreams come out from in you- I'm sure there are some great ones bursting to come out. Have a great day :) Lisa

  10. You are a wonderful daughter. your dad is lucky to have such an amazing daughter. You are doing the right thing. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  11. The Lord sees your heart and your needing him. Glad to know that all things are going well. Happy Father's Day to all fathers. Very inspiring actually thanks a lot for sharing this!

  12. That is an amazing gift. I hope that your relationship starts to heal.

    BTW, I am one of five, and that is an amazing gift that you are giving your children. I wish that I was able to give that to mine.

    Thanks for stopping by on my SITs day.

  13. I enjoyed reading this. Good for you.


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