I will follow-up what I had previously written. Last week was the time I decided to tell my dad my story, and in that time I would finally try to reconcile with him. This was a decision brought forth from years of prayer and telling my friends my story. Every time I would tell my friends what struggles and sins I had, and how deeply my dad hurt me, I would curiously begin new feelings. I would slowly begin to heal. The anger and apathy that pulsed between my dad and I slowly began to wane. I began to slowly think of my dad as someone who may have been hurt himself. I began to see him as human.
As soon as I realized this, I thought that I did not want to live this life without trying to mend my relationship with my dad. Life, as scripture repeatedly says, is fleeting. I did not want to have regrets. I also had to move on. Allowing my dad to see deeper in my life would free me to show others my life more fully. Of course, there was always a chance that I might be wounded again, that my dad would hurt me even more – not by physical means, but by having a certain reaction akin to disappointment, anger, or even fear. Yet, I was willing to take the risk for any further chasm between us and reach out my hand to grab his. I asked my brothers and friends to pray for me as I took this step. This is what I wrote to them:
“It is time I do what I have always avoided, but what needs to be done. I have decided to reconcile with my dad and tell him what I have told all of you. I plan to talk to him in the next coming weeks. As many of you know, each time I told someone my story, my hatred and resentment toward my dad has grown less and less, shrinking to a something small and almost laughable. But it is still there. The anger is still there, and the wound still hurts, if only a little, even after all these years. The apathy towards my dad is still there, but I can find no good reason not to share my self with him. The time for him and me is growing shorter by the day, and I don’t wish to live with regrets on what could have been later in my life. I also plan to tell my mom and sister. My sister is probably the one I have hurt the most during this process even though she may not know it.
Please pray for me and my meeting with my family. I am still scared of getting hurt again (and possibly hurting them), but talking with you all has strengthened me in ways I thought I could never be strengthened. You guys–my brothers–have given me joy to replace the sorrow and despair I once had, and have given me laughter where once there were tears, and for that I am forever grateful. The time has come I step out in boldness and embrace this messy thing called relationship in hopes I find something authentic, beautiful, and real. Something closer to Christ perhaps. Here goes nothing…and everything.”
I spoke to my dad on Thursday. I was scared. But I was also like steel in my resolve. I asked to meet him outside the tennis courts and prepared myself to show my wounds and my heart. He walked up to me and asked what was on my mind. I took a deep breath and began.
I told him everything. How he hurt me, how I had cried out to God for years without relief. How I had considered suicide. How God kept me through the years. I told him of the prayers that were answered, and of the friendships finally formed. I told him my joys and my pains. And I told him I wanted to reconcile. He listened, and he began to cry. My dad also told me some of his story. He told me of how his dad treated him and that this may have carried over in the way he treated me. Not that he was blaming his dad for his mistakes, but he saw that some of the things his dad did to him, he did exactly to me. He cried–something, admittedly, I feel awkward about. But it also tells me he’s human, and he has regrets. He never meant to hurt me, and I always knew that. When he opened up to me, the weight lifted. It felt good letting go of this burden I had held for so long.
And you know what, I guess the world hasn’t ended yet. We are still father and son. We still act the same around each other. He still tells me to turn the music down, and I still tell him to not eat so much sweets. He still prays for us at night, and I still eat all of the food in their fridge (maybe not all of it, but a pretty good amount). However, there is one difference–I can now, once again, laugh at him for just being dad. That is something I didn’t think I could ever truly do.
May we now walk this journey together, my footsteps gently following his, my smile an imitation of his, and my laugh echoing his laugh. Let us, together, walk all the way to the Celestial City, to the embrace of our Father.