Fathers have been on my mind a lot for the last couple of months. I am struggling with God as MY Father. My dad does not allow me the luxury of growing up. In his mind I am still a malleable 12-year old (not that this stubborn Milly was all that ‘malleable’ to begin with – too much like dad I would say). My dad is as imperfect as I am…
Here we are at Father’s Day. I’m sick with a cold today. Since colds and eighty-something year olds don’t mix very well, I called my own stubborn, ornery octogenarian to wish him a happy Father’s Day. He accepted my good wishes and proceeded to regale me with the news of the day and what it was like in the Air Force during the Korean War. Oh Boy, I have heard these stories for so many years. Thank God for phones and the fact that he hates most things computers. He can’t see my huge eye roll as he launches into how to straighten out the world and the US military. I bite my tongue and let him do what he enjoys, telling me how to fix the world.
I listened because he’s my dad. There is no use arguing with him (even though half the time he’s preaching to the choir). He just wants to mold his little girl into his image. I’ve learned letting him lecture and rant is the way to avoid verbal abuse. I just agree and go on with my life.
This comes at a cost. I almost always feel exhausted and frankly a bit guilty after my daily conversation with dad. I believe this is due to the lack of honesty between us. His biting tongue and guilt laden responses has driven a wall (I built to protect myself) between us. I honor my father as best I can and I still protect my heart.
So, I struggle with my Perfect Father who watches over all the good and bad in my life. He placed me in this family for a reason. First he gave me the spirit, both literally (Holy Spirit) and figuratively (gumption), to become my own woman without the support of my father. Recently I realized that for years I called God, God. Not my Father or even God the Father. When I converted to Catholicism I had a hard time calling a priest ‘father.’ I make it easier by following father with the priest’s name to differentiate from my dad. I didn’t want that wall to exist between God and me.
God the Father (still sounds a little strange on my lips) is teaching me that He is the Father I need for the rest of my life. He is my loving Father. He is my perfect Father. He is also teaching me that without my imperfect father, I would not be who I am today. My perfect Father willed this for me.
This relationship will probably not be corrected here in the corporal world. Do I believe my father loves me? Not really, I believe he thinks he loves me. Do I love him? My little lonely girl wants to but, to be honest…no…not like love should be. Love cannot be forced. It must bloom. That is why in the Ten Commandments it says:
“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Deuteronomy 5:16 (KJV)]
The scripture does not say love, it says honor. All I can do today, is honor my imperfect father. To all my imperfect peeps, Happy Imperfect Father’s Day!