If the truth be told and the truth should be told; the smiles that graced this picture quickly faded after the snapshot. My father and I ended up sitting at the dinner table arguing about a conversation that never should have taken place. My father has spent most of my life incarcerated and by the way of a miracle we were given this second chance to create memories. So the conversation I was prepared to have was about how we could build and make up for lost time. In my mind especially because it was my birthday I expected a conversation about the type of guy I was interested in or some pointers on relationships from a father’s perspective. Instead we engaged in a heated debate about a person I was close to and how I strongly disagreed with his desire to pursue her sexually. I get it! He has been in jail a long time and being with a woman sexually was important to him but the painful part for me was that he couldn’t see the woman that was sitting right in front of him. He was so consumed in his own lustful desires that he couldn’t recognize that it was no longer prison bars separating us but his own flesh. He couldn’t see the woman that was now looking at him with a deeper since of disappointment nor could he sense the resurfacing of her childhood pains.
I do not question my father’s love for me and I know that he is very proud of my accomplishments. I do not openly pen this blog out of anger or to make my him feel bad; in fact years ago he told me to rewrite my first book because I didn’t address things honestly out fear that I would hurt his feelings. I could have just posted the picture and allowed it to give my readers the illusion of an amazing time. Nevertheless, I understand my assignment and the generation of healing that is connected to my truth and because I take that seriously I refuse to live a lie in silence or out loud.
By the end of dinner my father apologized and saw his error in the matter but he got upset again because my forgiveness was not as instant as he would have liked it to be and of course my attitude shifted with his anger at which point the dinner went downhill! In that moment honestly I felt like all my efforts were in vain and this attempt at the perfect “daddy daughter birthday date” was an epic fail.
Moral of the Story
I’ve come to realize that the road to restoration is not always smooth and that one birthday dinner; even if it were perfect could not heal years of pain. I realized that the intercessor I was for others I needed to be that and so much more for my father. I needed to extend him a little more grace as he transitioned back into society. Realizing that life on the other side of the bars was new and at times overwhelming for him. I needed to remain conscious of my attitude and pray for more wisdom and understanding as it relates to restoring our relationship. Within the process of restoration I’ve come to realize that you will encounter some disagreements, disappointments and discouragementsbut if you fight and endure the process you can bridge the gap, heal the wounds and love against all odds.