Knowing Who I Am

by - August 04, 2010

Do we ever really know? Most of the time, at my age, I feel pretty sure I do.

Then the phone rings and my father tells me he's purchased airfare and I ink him into the weekend squares of my calendar. I begin to think about him more and start remembering the little bit there is to remember. Most of my life has been father-absent.

I'm comfortable with this, yet that statement makes me sad, even if just a little. How can these both be? Is it possible to be comfortable with, and sad about the same thing? I don't think I'm comfortable with sadness, so that can't be it.

And that's how life goes from being perfectly fine to a perfect mess.

One family gathered around the table for the bearing of bad news: divorce.

A few years of choosing the impossible: mom or dad, both no longer an option.

The rest of your life getting used to not having your dad in any capacity that's meaningful.

Children adapt, so we learn to acclimate to the circumstances. We find a spot in our being for the sadness and what's lacking: the need to have his approval, his identity, to know who you are. And you grow accustomed to the rock that is heavy that makes the space between you cold and hard and non-living.

You tell yourself that it's a fine place to sit when your paths do cross the telephone lines for chit-chat about how fast the kids grow up, how busy life is, and the latest joke he treats his clients to that day. But you hate that you're on par with his clients and that the jokes are unfulfilling, and you hang up still strangers. And you don't talk for many months, because there's really nothing to say.

He's been here three times before in the last twenty-one years. The conversation always repeats: memories past, old regrets, and long distances. And more failure at trying to make sense of it.

I think I'm not willing to forge something new at this point because I don't have any more grief and pain to give to this relationship. I don't want to risk it. That's what's sad.

There's not any unforgiveness or bitterness keeping me from it really, just a lack of energy or desire to build anything new. It simply is what it is: only little and superficial. It doesn't take much effort and can't do any real damage. That's what's comfortable.

And I know who I am. I'm a daughter, with as many short-comings as her father.


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  1. dear dawn,

    disappointment is so exhausting. i pray that during
    this time, you will be surprised with deeper
    revelations of His love and the grace to enjoy a
    father who has disappointed you.

    thank you for such a vulnerable post. it helps me
    understand some situations in my own life.


  2. Bless your heart Dawn. Really, I pray the Lord would give you grace in that relationship. I'm sad for you too. Sad for your dad. He's missing a great relationship. Maybe you should invite him to read your blog. :) May time spent with the real Father fill in all the empty spaces. I know you are comfortable with that. Thanks for the post. I need to be more comfortable with things because of Jesus too.

  3. Dawn, because I know your heart and know what you have walked through I can say that this is one of your best post! We are all people with many short-comings (part of the Sin thing), but praise the Lord that He is able to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). I ALWAYS hold out hope that God can restore and even bless in a greater dimension what we think we have lost. Remember, He is the God who is able to DO exceedingly and abundantly MORE. Others will be blessed by your transparency - I love you!

  4. this was beautifully written. I just found your blog and wanted to say hello. We all do have many short comings but we are saved through Jesus and God can work wonders to this new relationship you are going to forge. Good for you.


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