I recently came across a folder on my Facebook messenger that I did not realize existed. It was a message archive Facebook had filtered for me of people I was not “friends” with, and in this place I found a message from my Aunt Lynn, your sister. She wasn’t a woman I could remember, but her name was one my mother had mentioned to me before. In fact she had said we favored.
Aunt Lynn had reached out to me, and since you left when I was just a small child of five I hadn’t seen her since before that. In her message she mentioned that you had spoken of my blog, and that surprised me since a Contact Page is easily accessible on my website, yet I hadn’t heard a word. But then I thought of all the things I had written over the years. Wince.
A large number of my blog posts have mentioned you and your absence, and I cringed wondering what you had thought of my musings. I wrote those things with no knowledge that you would ever see them, but now knowing that you might I decided to pen this letter just for you.
First off, my intention is not to hurt you. That would do neither of us any good. I don’t desire to “get back at you” or even “lash out” to try and make myself feel better. You see, the fact is that I’ve forgiven you. I’m not mad, and I haven’t been for many years. I came to a place where I had to realize some people aren’t made to be dads who are present in their children’s life, and that’s just how it is.
But although I have forgiven you and I don’t wish you any ill thoughts, I do want you to know how your actions have impacted my life. I think it’s only fair that you know. I don’t know the complete specifics of what went on between you and my mother. I only know what I heard, what I personally remember, but most importantly, how it all affected me in the end.
I don’t think people realize how their actions impact another, or even how it can serve like ripples upon the water after a hastily thrown stone. They don’t see that absence can impact just as much as presence, and that empty places sometimes leave hollow hearts.
When my mother remarried and I decided as a young girl that I liked this new man, I watched him with a distrusting eye. I remember once pouring Elmer’s glue in his backpack so that he wouldn’t be able to leave like you had done.
Because of your decision to go away a part of me always feared he would go too, no matter how much he proved his love for me.
Did you know that even as a thirty year old woman, when my mother died, I feared he would decide there was no longer anything to tie us together?! Because of that deep-seated rejection I still carry to a degree, I irrationally was afraid my adopted daddy would be done with me. Crazy, I know.
I don’t want to place my self-esteem issues on you, or even the string of failed relationships I experienced where I chased men trying to find one who loved me. I won’t try and put a Freudian twist on it all, or say I tried too hard to please a man who never really loved me over and over again because of some “daddy issues” I have. I just won’t do that.
I’ll just say it hurt. It hurt when you left. When you left the first time, the second time, and even the third.
It hurt when I tried to keep visiting you as an eight year old and you didn’t have time for me.
It hurt when you gave up your parental rights so easily, although I know now that was God’s will for me.
It hurt when I reconnected with you when I was twenty, but you let me drift back away.
It hurt that you didn’t know me at all, or that your wife signed the birthday cards.
It hurt when I called you to cry about Mom’s death, and you had no idea what to say to me.
I don’t know why I sought your comfort so much at that time, but I did.
And it hurts that as I write this that unwanted, unexpected tears come to my eyes.
But we cannot undo hurt feelings anymore than we can un-break an overturned vase. Instead what I can do is tell you how the good Lord has used it.
God showed me through the adoption by my Dad, Michael, how it feels to be chosen. It feels lovely. To be picked to be loved, that is precious. Dad has done a really great job.
God showed me how He also adopted me into His Kingdom, and I was able to grasp more deeply the Father Heart of God. He showed me that despite any earthly hurt I could cry out Abba Father and He would be there.
He would never leave me.
I guess you can see why that meant so much to me, and why now I cling to my faith so deeply. It could have gone the other way, but I’m glad it did not.
I see now that every thing that has happened to me God has orchestrated. Did He want you to leave? No. I don’t think that was His design, but when you did He worked with it and He set into motion the many things in my life that would bring me back to Him.
So the end of my story is a happy one. I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered or worried if I’m ok. And if you haven’t, that’s fine. My joy rests on no man. But if you do then I can tell you this.
Although your leaving hurt me then, wounded me later, and impacted me in so many ways, it did not destroy me. I am fine. I am stronger, wiser, and quick to keep the flicker alive in my own daughters’ eyes. I have chosen a man who is a wonderful husband and father to our children, and I don’t take him for granted one bit.
The thing is, I love you, and honestly, sometimes I think of you. I think of you and it makes me sad. So then I push those thoughts away.