The phone rarely rings except for Sunday when dad calls to catch up on my life. I catch up with his life. I worry about him because he works too hard. He doesn’t call quite as often as he did when I found him in 2008. Thirty-something years of distance leaves a lot of gaps. It’ll take longer to bridge those gaps; longer still when you consider we both hate talking on the phone.
I laugh at myself. I was so naïve. I remember wanting to tell him that I forgave him for not getting involved in my life. How little I knew then of the struggles, the returned presents, the returned letters, and I question how divorce can make a child a victim. We talk about the weather, his job, my job, his life, my life and when he laughs that long buried memory returns. Of all the things that I rejoiced in, it was in hearing his laugh that made me realize not all my memories are blank.
I used to look in dread at the phone when it rang or when I received a text. I dreaded those calls and texts. I dreaded the holidays. I dreaded family parties. I dreaded facing the bitterness. No matter how many years elapsed one will always try to justify and force a grown child to take sides. In looking at the path of those two lives, I realize the difference—one moved on and one still has both feet in the past. I tried to please everyone and in the process hurt deeply. It’s like that movie, Runaway Bride. Julia Roberts’ character loved whatever her fiancé loved. She had to learn what she loved. Like Julia Roberts character, I sat in the void of my family’s absence and began to figure out who I am in the eyes of God.
My life has simplified. My home has settled into its familiar wrinkles and new traditions are born with the birth of freedom. I learned appropriate boundaries. My husband and I discovered new Christmas traditions. The lack of family helped us appreciate what family remained. Their love for me has no price tag. I do not have to repay their love. It’s free. I know I didn’t appreciate them enough in the beginning. When you first find Christ you need someone to disciple you because you are still that baby drinking milk and vulnerable to the lure of darkness.
I am in wonderment at how life has evolved into something warm and familiar. The phone rarely rings, but Facebook is active. There is always someone to share in our joys and someone to wipe our tears. God set me free with the truth of my beginnings and hugged me with the fellowship of wise Christian friends. The family of Christ has no walls. This church became my first church family. As I grow in Him I love deeper and continually grow more unafraid of heartbreak as I trust Him with every aspect of my life.
There are always two sides to every story especially in a divorce. One cannot play the victim totally without acknowledging fault in something. You cannot control your circumstances or your relationships. You can only control how YOU react to it. God will set you free if you let Him. Forgiveness and healing are a must for any Christian to grow in a relationship with Christ. How has God set you free?