Where’s Dad?

9 04 2017

Personally, I believe one of the hardest things a child learns to cope with is that their Rock _nnorm is not the same as everyone else around them; in my case it was the lack of a father. Where other children around had a mom, dad and siblings, my family nucleus mom, myself and a great-aunt and great-uncle. Early on the thought of a father never crossed my mind; it wasn’t until I started school and kids would ask me where my dad was, and I really didn’t know. I had heard Ma (as I called her) tell different stories to others that contradicted each other; he had died, they were divorced, he lived somewhere else due to work. When we were alone and I asked her where dad was she would answer, “When you get old enough to understand, I’ll tell you.” That wasn’t much comfort and even added to my confusion, but I would wait and ask again and again and again. But always the same answer, “When you get old enough to understand, I’ll tell you. As I grew into my teen years this became a point of dissension between ma and I, and not only her but other people that I was close to would not give me the answer I so desperately desired; not even the person I trusted and revered more than anyone else in the world. “Johnny, I plan to tell you someday, but as long as your ma doesn’t want you to know, I can’t say a word.” So, the mystery continued and for a time I grew angry, dark spirited and withdrawn. If I didn’t have to talk about it, I wouldn’t have to answer any questions, nor put up with the ridicule and teasing from bully types. I did all I could to convince myself it wasn’t important anyway and it didn’t bother me. But it did, and deep inside, it was like a dull pain that wouldn’t go away.

By the time I was sixteen I was pretty much living on my own, playing music and showing up for school just enough to keep from being tossed out. During this period a police officer who I had some run ins with but saw that I wasn’t a bad kid, went out of his way to keep me out of trouble did me the biggest favor he could have ever imagined. After one of my stupid shenanigans that he bailed me out of, I had to meet once a week to give him a report on what I was doing. It was over coffee at a local dime store that I asked him one day, “You’ve known my family since we came here; do you know what ever happened to my dad?” It seemed forever he stared into his coffee cup before questioning on why I was asking him. After a half hour of giving my reasons and assuring him I’d never say who told me nor speak harshly to my mother on the subject, he began a story. A story of a young woman who was highly impressionable who also had physical, emotional and social limitations and the older man who took advantage of that. That is, until she became pregnant, he then left town and returned to his own wife and children. I suppose the normal reaction for many would have been anger, betrayal or sadness. For me it was like a hundred pound pack has fallen from my shoulders with the dark hole of my life now filled and it was okay.

It took a while before I approached mom to let her know my discovery, and that it was okay that I knew, and that I loved her just as much. But being careful and gentle telling her didn’t matter; she turned walked out of the room and refused to talk about it for many years.

A young unwed mother back in the early 50s carried a larger black mark than it does in today’s society. This stigma combined with other problems made the situation worse for my beloved mother and she would spend a great deal of her life hiding what happened. When the time came that we would talk, I learned more than I realized, not about my father, but about Ma. For me knowing the truth was liberating, but for her the shame cast in ignorance by some was like a cage; what I was franticly running toward, she was desperately running away from. When mom realized my love for her was untainted at the revelation of this deep kept secret, she too finally felt a release, a freeing of sorts of her soul that condemnation did not exist with me and especially no longer in her.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learn about my Lord is that He realizes first and foremost that we all have dealt with problems that taint our lives to some degree. That’s exactly why He let us know it’s okay, we’re not or capable of living perfect lives, totally impossible in a sinful world. That’s where His love takes over.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The world will look and declare a mistake has happened. God says “You bring that to me and I’ll show you what I can make out of it, because of how much I love you.”

John Bunyan said, “No child of God sins to that degree as to make him incapable of forgiveness.”

I’ve shared this with you today not to tell a deep dark secret of my past as well as my mother’s. I’ve shared to let you know that hiding, covering over or denying past mistakes will never bring peace. My belief is that healing will only come when you release all that weighs you down to the God that’s able to forgive and start you anew.

Ephesians 1:7-8 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding”

I like what Chuck Swindoll says, “When God is involved, anything can happen.  Be open. Stay that way. God has a beautiful way of bringing good vibrations out of broken chords.”

As mentioned before, it took mom a while to get used to me knowing the truth. But as time went on she was so glad to have someone to talk to about it, someone who understood, someone who saw her as the greatest mom he could have had in life.

When Ma’s days of “Traveling the Rock Road” were finished, she went from holding my hand, to the arms of her Savior.

“Hey Ma, where’s Dad?” Right where He should be, high and lifted up, seated on the Throne, and loving each and every one of His children, like only a Father could.

See ya next time.


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