Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)
TITLE: The Meeting
By Lynda Lee Schab
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I had never met my father. But that was all about to change. And the amazing thing was that he had contacted me.
Not that I never thought about it. In fact, I had probably thought about looking for my father every day since I was six and my mom told me that my father was out there, somewhere. But for some reason, I never took the first step. What prevented me from seeking contact? Anger and bitterness? Fear of rejection? All three?
I anticipated those first few moments of our meeting. Would I hug him? Smile at him? Punch him? I'll admit that sometimes I did dream about giving him a left hook smack dab in the eye like I gave Susan Smith in third grade. It would make me feel a little better, if nothing else. Of course, that wouldn't completely satisfy my need to let him have it for what he did to me.
What I wanted to do was give him a piece of my mind. But how would I say that because of him, I cried myself to sleep almost every night for the past fifteen years. That I'd struggled with depression and self-loathing. That because he was never there for me, I looked for love in all the wrong places. How would I tell him that I'd woken up in more men's beds than I could count, all because I wanted someone to love me. And how would I let him know that it never worked? Not once in all those times did I walk away feeling loved. If anything, it left me even more empty than before.
I wanted to tell him how much he hurt me. I wanted to yell and scream at him and demand to know what was so wrong with me that I was unworthy of his love! That he would abandon me - toss me aside like yesterday's newspaper. I wanted to convince him that in spite of not having a father, despite what he did to me, I turned out pretty well!
Or did I?
I looked at my watch. He was already five minutes late. My heart pounded through my blouse and I just knew he wouldn't come. I tried telling myself I didn't care, that it didn't matter. I had lived the past twenty-four years without him and if I lived my whole life without seeing my father, I would be just fine. But I couldn't leave. I stood there, clinging to the hope that he wouldn't reject me again.
And there he was.
My breath caught as I stared at this man who looked amazingly like me. Same dark hair, same eyes, same smile…yes, he was smiling. His lip quivered slightly as he slowly stepped towards me, seemingly unsure of the next move he should make.
I hesitated for a second. Did I want him to hug me? Was I ready for physical contact from a man I resented? A man who had let me down in the biggest way imaginable? A man who had the potential to disappoint me again? The father I didn't even know?
And then, before I knew what was happening, I felt his strong arms around me, embracing me. And I hung onto him for dear life, unable to believe he was real. But he was real. And he was here.
"I love you," he said into my ear. "I'm so sorry."
And when I heard those words, the dam broke once more and I cried and cried and cried….
I didn't yet know the circumstances of the past. What he did tell me was that he recently met his own father for the first time - his heavenly father. And since then, he knew he had to find me. I didn't really understand what he was saying but at that moment, I didn't care. There was a lot we would need to talk about, and much healing that would need to take place. I knew the anger and bitterness I felt would need to be expressed at some point. I didn't know what the future held. All I knew was that my daddy was holding me.
And that it was the best feeling in the world.
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