Last Sunday a friend from church asked me how my sister was doing. He had traveled with her in a music group 20 years ago, and saw that she had recently been out to California for a women's retreat and just wanted an update.
One subject lead to another, and before I knew it he was asking about my dad. Asking questions like if I saw him regularly even though he lives in Texas, or if we talk a lot on the phone? When I said, "No" to both questions, he apologized for prying. I assured him it was okay.
And it was okay, but the conversation got me thinking about my life and the choices we make. How we don't live in a vacuum, and that everything we do seems to affect someone else, whether we want to own that or not.
My dad chose to leave us when I was in first grade.
I realize that his decision making was tainted by alcoholism, but the ramifications of his choice to leave us reached far and wide. His vacancy has affected relationships I've had with others ever since. Always so afraid of being abandoned or discarded. Doing whatever necessary to keep someone from leaving me. Or better yet, keeping them at a safe distance so that it wouldn't hurt as bad when they DID leave.
I realize now how unhealthy that is, and I didn't really intend on sharing that when I started typing, but apparently I was supposed to. Perhaps it will give some insight to my current circle of friends ... DON'T LEAVE ME!!! Ha! Ha! Seriously though ... don't.
Alright. Back to what I originally thought was the point of this post ...
When my dad left, I'm sure he didn't think that one day he might enjoy having a relationship with me. I doubt he thought much about the future as far as it pertained to his three children. All he could see was the present, and how he wanted out to explore greener grass.
As for me, I never set out to hold a grudge toward my dad, and I honestly don't. I love him, and forgave him years ago. However, when you only talk to someone on the phone twice a year growing up (birthday and Christmas), it's pretty hard to keep a relationship going. Perhaps he wanted to call more often, but maybe didn't know what to say once he did call. So sad.
I think about my daughters and how blessed they are to have a dad in the home that loves them, and I see what joy they bring to him. My dad missed out on all of that, because of poor choices. And what's worse is that while I love my dad, we don't have a relationship. Not a real one anyway. And that wasn't intentional, it's just what happens when you don't spend time with someone.
So what I'm trying to say to you dads out there (and moms too, I suppose) is that if you're thinking about leaving your family, you really need to consider all of the consequences. Those you leave behind will be scarred forever. If they're believers, they'll have the Lord and His Holy Spirit to fill the void you leave, but their future will be ever altered thanks to your decision. And if you think that someday, after enough water has passed under the bridge, your kids will want to have a relationship with you, you might be sorely mistaken. And how sad would that be? My dad has NO IDEA how TRULY AWESOME I AM. I know that sounds silly and perhaps a tad bit conceited, but I do feel sorry for him. It's just one of the many consequences to the path he chose.
Now all that said, if you've already left your family, this piece is not meant to condemn. I sincerely hope that your scenario ends differently than ours did. God still does miracles.