Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Will The Real Daddy Please Step Forward
By Kimberly Russell
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My father and I shared a "love-hate" relationship at best-and a downright lousy one at its worst. Often it ebbed and flowed like an out-of-control roller coaster. Had I asked his opinion, more than likely he would have muttered, "What's wrong? Your itty, bitty feelings get hurt?" For obvious reasons, I never asked.
My father was not a kind man. Nor was he all warm and fuzzy. Through the grace of God and His gracious healing, I can admit to knowing my dad loved me. This has been a long time coming as I've realized that he did the best he could with what he had to work with. In his defense, we are all a product of our environment and if I were to explore the family dynamics that he grew up with, I'd guess the pattern was set many generations ago. It doesn't excuse his actions (or inaction) but has helped me mend and understand.
Dad didn't hug much and we shared no noisy, squishy kisses. He didn't gaze at me with pride during band concerts or brag about my amazing talents on the ball field. Most attempts to get noticed were often rebuffed and if I wanted any attention, it had to be on his terms. To that end, I would beg to go with him when he went places just so I could be near him. He seemed to enjoy showing me off in public (I was kind of a cute little girl) but there was a price to pay. Invariably we'd run into someone he knew...
"Hey, Garland, how ya doin? Who's this little darling?"
My dad would glance down at me, cigar clenched in his teeth, and reply, "Oh, this is our 'Oops'. She's the one we didn't expect, the little mistake..." They'd share a chuckle and move on to more interesting topics. This scenario repeated itself many times and after a while, I quit asking to go anywhere with Daddy.
I grew up and battled through the teenage years while Dad and I drifted further apart. We never managed to see eye-to-eye on most things and were unable to subscribe to the theory of "agreeing to disagree". Our explosive interchanges never lead to violence, however, the emotional scars ran deep. It seemed I could do nothing right in his eyes and was always wrong. Even so, I found myself going back for more. A glutton for punishment? Perhaps, but negative attention is sometimes better than none at all...
Marriage to an unemotionally available man at an early age seems so cliché but that's what happened. Dad disagreed with it and threatened to disown me. Spurred on by getting a rise out of him, I forged ahead and paid dearly for my bad choice. A second marriage opportunity found me trying to convince him I knew what I was doing. Wrong again.
Eventually, Dad became ill and crotchety-big surprise. My disdain turned to pity and our roles reversed. Now I was the caretaker he never was, reaping his wrath when he felt I wasn't doing enough.
I attempted to talk to him about Jesus as he lay close to death, unable to speak due to a major stroke. I told him that all he had to do was ask forgiveness for the wrong he had done and Jesus would be his savior. As he growled in alarm, eyes flashing at the thought of EVER being wrong about ANYTHING, I feared I would kill him in my attempts to get him saved. He passed away shortly after that, leaving me to wonder if he had ever accepted Christ.
My life floundered on, emotional issues often bubbling to the surface, my past causing grief in my present. As a last resort, I started meeting with my pastor in an attempt to sort it all out. What looked like a hopeless cause finally started to turn around when we delved into my childhood...and God began to speak...
"My Daughter, you are not a mistake-nor are you an 'oops'. Don't you know that I have loved you always with an everlasting love that will never change? I have adopted you as my own special treasure, a masterpiece. I love you now and forever. Your Daddy."
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