A Dad for Dana

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My name is Dana.

I’ve never had a dad. Seriously.

Obviously, I didn’t pop out of a cabbage and I wasn’t delivered by a stork.  Like everyone else, I am the result of …the birds and the bees, if you will.

For me, “I’ve never had a dad” means I saw my dad a handful of times before the age of 3 and never again after that.  He would call every couple of years to check in on my mom and me…I assumed most likely to clear his guilty conscience.  Nevertheless, by the time I was 15 the calls stopped along with the empty promises of “I’m coming to visit” or “there’s something coming in the mail for you” and the thoughtless questions of “how is school?” and “are you minding your mother?”  It was a relief really.  I mean who was this man whose face I didn’t remember, whose wisdom never landed on open ears, and whose love was really just a mixture of shame and obligation?  He wasn’t a dad.  He was a voice on the other line who didn’t know the girl he was talking to.

He died 6 years ago.  I cried for days.  It wasn’t the mournful crying of a child who lost a parent.  I wasn’t crying for him or for what I lost.  I never had him.  He was never mine to lose.  It was the devastating reality that there would never be a chance to be the daughter of a father.  I mourned the possibility of a relationship. that’s it.  I would never be known by him and I would never know the man he really was.

I’ve done a lot of growing in 6 years.  I don’t hate him.  I know that he was just a broken man like I’m a broken woman.  He wasn’t malicious or evil, he just chose not to be my father and I forgive him for that.  But, while forgiveness heals much it doesn’t change my situation of being “fatherless.”

Today, a friend of mine prayed with me.  This phone conversation was so much different from the conversations all those years ago.  This time, as she prayed, it was as if God took over and spoke to me as a father does…with sincerity and wisdom…with gentle kindness…knowing me completely and then speaking right to the lies and insecurities that I imagine only a father can identify in his child.  There was peace and rest and maybe for the first time in 35 years, the feeling of being a daughter to a father.

So, here is what my dad said to me today:

“I am interested in you.”

“My daughter, your time has arrived.  Get up and follow me.”

“I will do what I promise.”

“I will not leave you.  You will not be abandoned, stranded, or left alone.”

“You captivate me and melt my heart.”

“I don’t care how you have failed or what has distracted you up until now because I am for you!”

“You will know me.  I already know you.”

“Let go.  You can’t do it alone.  I actually LOVE to help you.”

“You can trust me.”

“Your future is good.”

“I love you.”

Who knew?  I’m not fatherless after all.  In fact, I have a LOT of “daughter-ing” to do with my Dad now.

If my earthly father is in heaven and can rip his eyes from the glory of The Lord for a moment, I hope he sees that I’m OK and that he didn’t ruin me.  I hope that he knows the love of God the Father and that he forgives me too.

I’ve decided…Dad’s can be pretty cool.