I heard from my brother this week. He sent me a picture of our dad taken last May. It came as a bit of a shock. I haven't seen my dad in 30 years. Thirty years. That's a long time, a very long time, more than half my life. He has aged, so do we all.
At first I was pleased to know he is alive and well. He appears happy, in good health, and is doing useful work with the Alzhiemers Association. Yup, I was happy to see the photo. And then all the negative emotions came flooding back. Wounds I thought had healed were re-opened.
He abandoned our family when I was 6. He came back after a few months. Three years later, when my parents divorced, he abandoned us again; he had visitation rights but rarely saw us. As an adult I worked to build and maintain a relationship with him and it appeared he was working towards that also. And then he and his wife just disappeared. I called him at work but someone strange answered the phone, he had sold his business. I called his house but the phone had been disconnected. I called his mom, his sister, my siblings, to no avail. He was just gone. I felt as if I had been slapped, as if I could never trust again. I was so angry and so hurt. He broke my heart.
Eventually his sister found him, living 20 minutes from his mother. So we have known where he is and known just as surely that he wants nothing to do with any of us. And to this day we don't know why. All I have are questions. What causes a man to leave his entire family? He gave me a Bible when I was 6, inside he wrote "Daddy will always love and pray for you." Is that true? Was it ever true? Does he know or care anything about any of us? Does he know or care that he has great-grandchildren?
I get that his dad abandoned him before he was born and he has his own pain to deal with. I get that he is not perfect and I can't expect him to be. I get that family can be difficult and complicated. And it would be really easy to blame this all on his current wife. After all, she was deeply involved it the many layers of deception.
There is a raw place inside me that wants to hurt them both. To expose their actions. To say to the employer, the circle of influence: This is what they did, this is how they treated us, don't trust them, they are selfish and evil. In reality, though, all I want is release from the pain.
So it comes down to forgiveness. Am I willing to let go of the desire for revenge? Am I willing to pray for them, for their salvation, for their health and wellfare? Am I willing to bless them? Forgiveness is the hard road and it is only through forgiveness that I will be free from this pain. And so I am in process. I am willing to forgive and aware that I am not able to fully forgive yet. I pray for God to work His forgiveness in me and I am praying for their salvation, health and wellfare. I bless them from afar. I might even send a Christmas card this year. The pain is begining to ease.