Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Card

on pop theology, philosophy, theology, culture, pop culture, christianityToday, a guest post in the aftermath of Father's Day by HJ.  In light of my classes this semester, focused in Jeremiah and Job, it was hard to read this without seeing how it often applies to our complex and intertwined relationship to God.  There's probably more to explore there, but I'll let it speak for itself.
by HJ
This card is always difficult for me to write and this year is no exception.  I don’t know what it would take for us to have some sort of breakthrough after which it would be easy to coexist under the same roof.  When I think about his role as my father I think things like, “He always provided food, clothing, shelter and healthcare for us,” “He didn’t abandon us,” “He never cheated on mom.”  
But that’s so basic; just thanking him for what he didn’t do rather than what he did.  Granted, I am aware of how many children are raised without such things.  Hell, I’m raising two kids myself who couldn’t claim such basics.  It’s just that last night after I got a little tipsy I opened up to a friend about my relationship with my dad.  I described it as “strained and passive-aggressive.”  He replied, “Usually when someone says that about her father, she follows it with, ‘and that’s why I’m a stripper.’”  Very funny.
But seriously, I’m jealous of anyone who would not describe their relationship with their father as complicated.  He wants my approval, I can see that clearly, but what do I do?  How can I affirm him and nurture our relationship in ways that are authentic and honest.  The fact is that beyond the basics he has been rather selfish.  
The best thing he could do to get a ‘Best Dad Ever’ card from me: treat my mom like a lady; show her more respect.  Hurting her has always hurt me.  Some of my earliest memories are of making sure she was okay after I knew he had upset her.  I take on their issues even now as a twenty-five-year-old woman.  And I love him, I really do, and I want so many good things for him, just as I know he does for me.  
And that’s where I began with the card.  He has always been the one to encourage me to go for my dreams and to tell me that I can do anything.  I went on to write about how he drops everything to come help me when my car breaks down or I have some other immediate need no matter what sacrifice is necessary.  See?  He’s not all bad.  I just wish, I really, truly wish that I could write him a ‘best dad ever’ card and mean it.  Maybe next year, because I cannot stop hoping that next year by some miracle that could be possible.

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