Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I Forget to Remember
Father’s Day was two days ago. I realized driving home tonight that I didn’t think about my dad on Father’s Day. I thought about my husband, and I thought about my father-in-law, but I forgot to think about my dad. I probably wouldn’t have thought of him today, except that I had a conversation with a friend that prompted me to remember my dad. Do you suppose that’s normal, not to think about your dad on Father’s Day? After all, mine has been gone for so many years, right? Do you suppose that’s normal since I rarely even talk about him? In some ways, I think it’s good that I forgot to remember him. It means that I can honestly say that any wounds he left behind are healed. I can honestly say I don’t resent him anymore. I can honestly say that I’m not angry anymore. And, yes, I can honestly say I don’t hate him anymore. You see, my dad was broken from the day I was born until the day he died. I never knew him as a whole, healthy man. And even though I craved his approval, I never respected him. I do think I loved him. When I was younger I loved him, and when I got over my anger, I loved him again. But today, I just don’t think about him much. I guess you could say I forget to remember. I suppose that’s kind of sad. When I used to think about him, it was all questions. My nature is to figure everything out, to understand why things are the way they are. So my thoughts were just a series of questions about my dad. Memories tied to questions of why he was the way he was. Why was he so mean? Why did he drink so much? Why was he so sad? Why was he so hurtful? Why couldn’t he just show up to a ball game sober? I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some things that I will never figure out. Questions I will never know the answers to. Years ago I stopped asking those questions, and when I stopped asking, I stopped being sad about the answers I would never know. And when I stopped being sad about the answers I would never know, I stopped remembering to think about him, even on Father’s Day.
My challenge to you today is to consider the people in your life that matter-especially your family-even if they are less than perfect. If the relationships you have are even remotely healthy, don’t take that for granted. Don’t let time slip away without saying the things that need to be said. There will come a day when precious people are gone. Parents pass on. Best friends move away. Children grow up. What I wouldn’t give to sit and drink a cup of coffee with my dad as the man God designed him to be. But I can’t ever do that, and I never could. But maybe you can. Or maybe it’s inconvenient for you or just plain hard for you, but can you still try? Or do you let that worry of being disappointed again get in your way? Maybe it’s a brother or a sister or your mom or one of your children or an old friend that you need to touch base with. And during that visit, maybe you can push aside your past disappointments and even overlook the things about your family that make you crazy long enough to hear their heart. You might even find out that when you push aside the past and you listen to their heart with your heart, that love grows in a way it never has before. Maybe you can find the relationship God has designed for you and your family, even if you thought that could never happen. You might find that God grows a love that is stronger than you ever imagined possible. My hope and prayer is that God blesses you with a love like that, and that as a result, even though the years go by, you won’t ever have to worry about forgetting to remember.