I find it fascinating how certain memories can burn in our minds, yet others are like a black hole, seemingly are never to be remembered again. It’s been just over 17 years since our relationship began, but so many memories before that time are still foggy and blurry.
I remember the night when we first met. I had just broken up with (who I thought was) the love of my life, left college, my friends, my sorority, my job and found myself sick, tired, angry and in charge of a group of rowdy 6th graders at a lame church camp. I didn’t want to be there. At all. I hated my life. I went off to the side of the mountain to vent…and you showed up.
You knew my name long before I knew yours and when we finally were introduced I remember a spark of hope as you shared with me that I had been chasing the wrong things my whole life. I saw a small glimmer of clarity birthed in that moment, the fogginess was lifting…I was beginning to see.
I remember being confused and lonely, unsure of what to do or what choices to make…but I also remember during those times hearing your kind words of assurance that no matter what happened and no matter what I was going through that you’d always be there and you promised over and over again that you’d never leave.
I can still feel the pain of regret a few years later knowing I had spoken poorly of you in my heart that you hadn’t given me what I wanted, and knowing you had every right to walk away. I expected you to be angry, and distant and cold….but instead you showed me tenderness, kindness…and compassion.
I remember grieving the loss of our baby and you being right there, by my side, again promising to always lead me through every bit of heartache I would ever face. You told me that you weren’t going to take the pain away, but that you’d help me to endure it. You told me that if my foot ever slipped you’d be right there to help me get back up. And I’ve seen you time and time again fulfill that promise.
I remember times that have been confusing and times when I haven’t understood what you’re doing, yet instead of just telling me to figure it out on my own you have come near and you have told me repeatedly that I need to just stay right by your side. “I’ve got you,” you keep saying. “I love you,” I keep hearing. “I’m not going anywhere. “You need to trust me,” you whisper gently in my ear, “…because I am a man worth trusting.”
Your steadfast love and your constant pursuit of me has made me absolutely come alive. I flourish under your watch. You’re powerful that way.
And that power is the lifeline of my very soul.
I didn’t know you, for so long, yet with each passing day I learn more and more about you. I am 100% your daughter, and your love is changing me into someone completely different than who I once was..
It is the times when I question whether or not you still care that I catch glimpses of your presence when I least expect it. I see your smile when my sons smile; and I am reminded of your joy in that little twinkle in their eyes. When my daughter hugs me tight I often wonder how it could be that you love her even more than I do.
For so long I felt an absence, a huge hole, as if a large chunk of my heart had been cut out.
For so many years I wanted a father. I longed for a daddy, a term I now see as the most intimate name for me to use for you because I use it for no one else…ever.
I need you. Every second of every single day.
And you are there. I never have to question that. I know without a doubt….
you will never leave.
The choices that have been made to get us here were extremely painful to have to endure. This family that you gave everything to create will always exist for all of eternity but the price it cost you is often unbearable to think of.
I will never regret walking through life with you, talking with you together around the dinner table, late at night when I’m feeling all alone, and inviting you into every part of our lives.
Through all of this pain, distance, sorrow and grief there is something I want for you to know…
I love you.
I love you because you first loved me.
And gosh, Daddy, that is sure comforting to know. When I wrong you I don’t have to fear your heavy hand or your law, because it is your love that beckons me toward you. I see now that when I wrongly believe that ‘doing more’ or ‘becoming more’ will somehow earn more of your love that it actually cheapens the love you do give.
Your love is free. It is complete. And it will never run dry.
As we walk together and talk together I know that you know every bit of me from the inside out and you still choose me…which is better than any fairytale love story that I could ever dream up. I know I don’t measure up, but you tell me over and over again that I don’t need to.
I never have to wonder if you will be there for me. I never have to question if it’s a good time or not to talk. I don’t have to fear your wrath or your accusations…over and over again you tell me that I’m yours and that I belong to you. And I can rest knowing what a perfect Father you are.
Daddy, some days you seem to good to be true. Some days I have to pinch myself knowing that you chose to adopt me. I am known—deeply and intrinsically known…flaws and all…and yet you call me daughter.
You don’t just know me—you delight in me…something I will spend the rest of my days trying to fully grasp.
When we met I was broken, absolutely broken, but in your care, I became whole. You freely gave of your time, your energy, and even your Son that I might be close to you.
I am forever yours.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.