The time has come for me to be honest about my story.
I’ve really struggled to put my life into words. I feel like I’m sitting in an airplane with a barf bag over my mouth trying to vomit and very little is coming out.
I’m at the point where I need to stick my fingers down my emotional throat to admit what’s been a big part of me all my life and to draw this part of my life story to a close.
This involves changing the name of my father on my birth certificate. I’ve come to the point where I have to admit to the world and me who my real dad is.
Let me be clear by using a churchy word. I have been blessed beyond measure all my life. Starting from the present, I have a wife who has loved me unconditionally for more than three decades.
My two kids are great. They have wonderful spouses and my five grandchildren make me smile always. We’ve always had a house and we’ve always had food to eat.
Along the way, I had a mom who was heaven sent. She too loved me without condition and she gave up everything to see that I had a chance at life.
The sticking point for me has always been my father. He abandoned me and my mother when I was 18 months old. He walked out, never came back, never called and never wrote. He vanished.
This happened in the forties when social services were non-existent and when it was just tough luck when a spouse skipped out.
Her background and her inner being would not allow her to surrender to defeat. Everyday was like an emotional roller coaster for her. As a young boy, I remember when she found an extra quarter in her purse and it was like uncovering pure treasure.
My mother believed in God and we went to church. Her fellow believers provided little if no support. Perhaps, they just didn’t know what to say.
Coming from a big family, she had five sisters and six brothers, she had some who would listen occasionally and who would help a little. But not much more from my perspective.
I have no memories, absolutely none, about any of my uncles or my aunts, asking me how I was doing. Not once.
Part of me was dying on the inside. It was like a slow-moving disease that crippled my emotions one piece at a time. I kept this to myself.
Before high school, I went to a parochial grade school where I was the only one being raised by a single-mom. In my mind, I felt this always stood out.
All through this time I never felt any connection with a father figure of any type. I yearned for it. I starved for some kind of interest from an older man. My uncles were nice and sometimes interested to a point. But our conversations always seemed like a one and done type of situation.
Then I grew-up. I searched for my father. I went to where he lived in New York City and didn’t find him. Every time I went out of town, I’d look through phone books for his name. It became habit. Nothing. I never had a hit in the racks of phone books I went through.
One day I went to the local library where there was a bookcase filled with phonebooks from around the country. I pulled one off the shelf and found him.
A friend of mine who had access to databases around the country found his records and shared with me an updated address and additional information that indicated he was a wealthy man who had remarried without divorcing my mother.
The next day I flew across country to look him in the eyes and tell him that I was his son. I did it. He answered the door and threatened my life. I was disowned completely. He would not talk to me or acknowledge me in any way.
I flew back home and was picked up at the airport by my mom and some aunts and uncles. We talked about my life changing moment for about five minutes and that was it.
I was 27 years old and it wasn’t over. I turned 70 at the end of this summer and I feel like it’s still not over. I realize that it’s time to wrap a bow around this part of my life and put it on the shelf.
I need to stop looking for a father. I know my dad died a number of years ago, but that hole is still there. It hasn’t gone away.
Deep down, I’ve always felt less because my own father didn’t count me important enough to even talk to me once. It’s way more than learning how to throw a baseball or overhaul an engine, the stuff that many dads teach their sons.
I want to finally shuck off a big doubt that has always been been just beneath my skin. It’s a feeling that I don’t deserve to be loved by anyone, including my wife and kids. For me that doubt has been like a sniper who has never left his position. I’ve fought it to the point where I thought I had won and then it would come back.
It’s like taking the SAT to get into college over and over again and missing it by a few points each time. I grew up feeling like I’m half a person.
Admitting this opens up my vulnerability. I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not looking for my father to be resurrected from the dead so he can say he’s proud of me.
I’m moving to the next step. And I was tipped off to this while sitting in our darkened church listening to our pastor talk about how believers in Jesus have been adopted by God.
He especially pointed out those who had been abandoned. God saw me, he picked me up and he adopted me. This got my attention, but I fought with the truth of this. It was hard to move from making it church talk to adopting it as my personal belief.
I’m tired of being dogged by my father issue. It’s time to let it go.
I’ve watched too many television shows and YouTube videos about kids being reunited with their long lost parent. I’d be glued to the television or the computer. Each time I’d relive my situation and my desire to find my father.
This is going to be a process, I know. But, I’m publicly declaring that I have a new Father. This is God the Father. I’m taking him at his word that he’s adopted me. I’m his.
At the end of the day, he’s the only father that counts.