"Children often run to a parent and just want to be held as they cry over whatever it may be. We are God's children and sometimes we need to do the same."
I reread those words a few times last night. And again today. It's a bit funny to me how one's reaction to something differs each time it's read.
The first time, I shrugged it off as someone grasping at something to say to me during one of my depressive little fits. I'd emailed him, all depressed, seeking... I don't know what. Comfort? Advice? Just the knowledge that someone was there? And he was answering.
Then I read it again, and tried to recall a time when I actually felt I could go cry to my parents and have them hold me. No such memory appeared. Maybe, before my dad married again, I was able to go to him for comfort. I'm sure I was, although no such time comes to mind. Did he hold me and comfort me when he found out I'd been sexually abused for years by his friend? I don't think so. What about something more simple - did he offer comfort when I tripped over my beach towel and needed stitches in my forehead (note: never use a towel as a jump rope in the middle of a road)? Again, I don't think so.
I read it again. Maybe he's right. Maybe that's what it was. Maybe that's why, for no apparent reason, I found myself drawn to the church. Maybe that's why I sat in the sanctuary, in the back pew, hands folded, and tears falling down my cheeks. I didn't have any words to pray to God. I wasn't looking for any answers, signs, advice, etc. I was just there, crying. Maybe I was simply seeking the comforting arms of a father.
Today, I read his words again. And again. Each time, things becoming clearer. I could feel the sadness creeping in even more. But wait. This was different. This wasn't my depression. This was a sadness, accompanied by knowledge, and a bit of comfort and peace.
I could hear the words again that had been spoken quite adamantly to me several months ago... "You are a beloved child of God."
I don't think I've ever realized what I am missing in regards to a father. I had a dad. My mom left when I was 2 years old, leaving my dad to raise two young girls. I remember having the admiration you hear about when it comes to young girls with their dads. I was most definitely a daddy's girl. Well, actually, I was more daddy's little tomboy. I worked on the car with him, and carpentry. I wanted to be just like him. He was my hero.
Of course, that was through a child's eyes. He was actually a recovering alcoholic with many issues - most specifically, depression. He was in and out of hospitals those first 8 years of my life. But, I still see those years as he being a good dad. Even if he didn't realize his best friend was hurting me... he was still a good dad. Even if he couldn't always be there.. he was still a good dad.
But then he got married. And things got bad. Through the following years which were filled with intense physical and emotional abuse (including by my father), I still sought my dad's approval. I still desperately needed my daddy - his support, and love, and acceptance, and the safety he was supposed to provide. And he continuously kicked me down (actually, quite literally), and turned his back on me, and emotionally abandoned me. Every now and then, I'd see the man I recalled from my early years. I held on to these moments.
It's actually kind of strange... when I think back to my childhood years, regarding how I looked at my dad, versus how I looked at God - it was pretty much the same. As a young child, I remember holding God quite high in my thoughts. I wanted to please God. I loved saying bedtime prayers, and going to church and Sunday School. I loved God. As I got older, part of me still wanted to please Him, but more and more a large part of me felt like He had abandoned me. He wasn't there for me the way God should be - the way a Father should be.
Do we all do this? Does our view of God reflect what are feelings are for our fathers? Maybe this is why I find it such a struggle now, as an adult, to comprehend God's place in my life and what kind of a God He is. I have unintentionally clung for so long to Him being like my earthly father, that I do not truly know Him for the Father he is.
Am I still seeking some resemblance of an earthly father? Is this what causes me to act so irrationally at times in regards to certain people? Am I looking for a daddy whose shoulder I can cry on? One who will hold me when life gets to be too much? One who will let me stumble, but will always be there to catch me, the way a father should?
Maybe, just maybe, I need a daddy to cry to. Maybe, it's time I let God be that Father.