I can’t remember the last time I saw him. It had to have been more than 5 years ago because D has never met him. We tried to send a birth announcement when A was born, but I never knew if he received it or not.
He found me on Facebook once upon a time. In a moment of bravery (or maybe stupidity) I called the only phone number I had … and even left a message. I never received a call back. I tried to ask for his address to send a Christmas card, but I never got a response.
Now here we are, 6 months later, and he has found me once again on the good book of face. He sent me a message saying the three of us girls have been on his heart and mind lately and he’d love to get together.
And I find myself at the place I have been so many times before. Asking myself – “what’s the point?” He’s never been present in my life. I have very few memories of him as an active part of my childhood. The memories I do have are not good ones. Then, once he left, he tried to turn things around. He tried to form some sort of relationship with us – but he just didn’t know how. And then, once I would get to a place where I was willing to forgive him for the past and move forward – he would disappear once again.
Drugs. Alcohol. Addiction. They all play a part in the cycle we’ve lived. The asking for forgiveness, the promise to be different, the belief that he “once was lost but now is saved,” and then the disappearance once again. Every time I try to “rise above” – to turn the other cheek – to forgive 70 times 7. But time and time again it just feels like I’m setting myself up for disappointment and hurt once again.
Now there are children involved. It’s not just me I have to think about – but A … and soon E. The last thing I want is for them to experience the same cycle I have lived with all of my life. It’s one thing to open your own heart to someone who has crunched it to pieces – it’s completely different when you subject your own daughters to the same thing.
I believe in forgiveness. I believe in hope. I believe people can change. I believe in second chances, and third ones, and fourth ones too. I believe that ultimately grace prevails.
But I also know how painful it is to put your trust in someone and have that trust abused over and over and over again. I know how important it is to balance self-care with care for others. I know that it’s possible to forgive and yet not continue a relationship with the person you’ve forgiven.
And let’s face it – if he weren’t my dad – I wouldn’t even be writing this. I’d ignore the friend request. I’d ignore the message. I might even block him as spam.
But maybe there’s a tiny hope in my heart that this time is different. That maybe he really has changed. And that maybe, just maybe, if I open the door a tiny crack, that a huge ray of sunshine will beam in.
I don’t have any answers. I know I’m not the only one that has found myself in this place of limbo. This isn’t a dilemma that has a right answer. It’s not a problem that has a solution. It’s a fork in the road. It’s a place of heartbreak. And it’s a time for faith. Not faith in any human – but faith in God. Faith that no matter what decision I make – and no matter how the story ends – that God will be there to celebrate with me or to help me pick up the pieces.