By Lori Lines
Father's Day. I have to admit it's not easy to revere my own father. Many do not know this but when my mother was married to him and pregnant with me, he left us for another woman who bore two more of his children. Both girls. I'm convinced the stress of all this had to do with me being born 3 months early. And, I've heard there have been other children spawned from him somewhere in Texas. I'm sure by now he is no longer living.
Mom and I struggled significantly when I was growing up - the law deemed him a "deadbeat" dad. And, while this is true, the effects of not growing up with a father, who was loving and present, fragmented my life quite considerably. My past has been sprinkled with me loving men who were unavailable, who lied, who cheated, who took advantage, and who were wounded to the point of being unable to have healthy relationships. Of course, now I know this had little to do with me though I have been the common denominator.
But, even though I can't honestly revere my father (he never gave me the chance to call him Daddy) like many can, I have to say thank you to my father, not only for his DNA, but for the strength, wisdom, and empowerment I have found as a woman through such adversity.
Almost seven years ago, I found myself in the same situation, as my mother and I, when I was growing up. I am now raising a daughter by myself with NO biological family, to speak of. And, it's been extremely difficult raising a child without a "daddy" who is willing to make sacrifices to be present for her in the way our society deems appropriate but most importantly, in the way my daughter would love him to be.
Isn't it ironic?
Although I have no idea why this father's day holds significance or is any different from the rest - for the first time in many, many years I've given thought to my father this weekend. I forgave him long ago in order to move forward, to heal myself from the pain and loneliness a girl can feel who never got the chance to know what it's like to experience that first love- of -her- life who unconditionally accepts her for who she is.
And as I ponder my past and my father, it dawns on me that the significance of this moment is sort of a death. It is a death of old ways of being. It is a death of attaching my identity to who I am with anymore. Like the older generation, many women found their power by identifying with who they were involved with. I got to see this many times when I lived in an affluent neighborhood where the women bragged about their husband's successes, all the while they appeared to me to be empty and devoid of any recognition of who they really were, their own love, their own innate gifts, their feminine power, and their intelligence. As long as their husbands did well, they seemed to give their power away. At the time, I was no different.
The tides have been turning for the feminine and the masculine in our culture. Relationship paradigms are changing and we can't help but change with them.
It took a man, whom I really loved, to hook into the wounds of my father and abandon our relationship so suddenly. He possessed all the intelligence, the light, the love, the sense of humor - the absolute brilliance - that connected with me on every level of my being. The sad thing is, just like my father, he didn't love himself very much at the time. He didn't possess the foundation it took to recognize true love because he just couldn't receive out of self-love. He couldn't see what I saw in him. The timing was wrong but I know there's a reason we met. He was mirroring me. I saw myself. And it took me four years of blaming myself, asking the wrong questions, and living under such a dark cloud to understand.
So, to my father and to the, then, love-of-my-life who hooked into my wounds only to help me heal them once and for all, I hope you have healed and have forgiven yourself by now...I hope you have found love and peace within yourselves...wherever you are. I know I've forgiven myself and I've forgiven all that you represented in my past.
Thank you for the lessons, for I turned out better than anyone expected and I love who I've become, despite your absence.
And to my late, beloved mother, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY. I love you for pulling double duty when it was hard and I couldn't fill your loneliness or quell your fears and frustrations because you didn't always know how on earth we were going to make it to payday.
To those of you men who are my awakened spiritual brothers who have stood by me during my dark night of the soul, Happy Father's Day. You represent such love while straddling the balance of your masculine power and your feminine understanding until I was able to do this for myself. You are amazing. You've been my rock to hold on to when I just wanted to be swept away by the tides.
To the Magician who holds sacred space for me, you know who you are and so do I. Happy Father's Day. I love you, too.
To those significant loving, healthy male mentors in my life who are no longer living: my Grandfather (with whom I had a very special connection) and my childhood neighbor who lent his time and attention to me while he raised his own children and who became a valued consultant when I needed advice only an evolved man could give a scared and vulnerable teenage girl...HAPPY FATHER's DAY to YOU TOO.
You are all in my heart. You are all a part of me now.
And I allow the death of the old to go back to God.
I am whole, happy, healthy. But, more importantly, I am balanced.
Author Lori Lines
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