Father’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me. Like so many people, I don’t have a father to celebrate on that day. My step-dad is a wonderful man and I know he cares for my family as if we were his blood family, but there’s still a hole in my heart no one can fill.
I should clarify, my dad is still alive. I just no longer have any desire to associate myself in any way, shape, or form with him. I don’t really want to go into the ugly details, but I will say he caused a lot of pain for me and my family. A few years ago, the situation reached a boiling point and I decided I couldn’t do it anymore.
Every year, when this time rolls around, I start thinking about this whole mess a lot more than usual. If you’ve ever been hurt by someone you care about, you probably have a general idea of what that train of thought looks like. Anger over all the pain that he caused. Questioning why it had to my family this happened to, why it even happened at all. Tears shed because that one episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air feels too real. Wondering if my decision to break off contact was the right one.
These thoughts haunt me. No matter how much I try, I can’t suppress the giant shouting voices of anger and sorrow. And this incessant reminder of the past continues to create bitterness and hatred. In the past, I’ve found myself wishing something would take him off this earth just so I could be done with it all.
While I’ve managed to turn down the hatred a couple of notches, I still grapple with all the anger and sorrow and bitterness constantly. I honestly can’t think of anything else I’ve struggled with for so long and so hard with. I may have times where all’s fine in my world, but the bitterness always eventually finds a hole to sliver through.
There has been many times where I’ve tried to forgive and just move on. What usually happens is I have a big emotional breakdown – one of the ugly-crying varieties – followed by a prayer asking God to help me forgive. That forgiveness holds for a time, but, as I said, all the negative emotions worm their way back into my head. Those emotions build up over time and then the circle repeats.
Forgiveness has not been a one-and-done type deal in this area. I’ve come to realize that forgiveness needs to be a daily decision for me.
Is making that decision hard? Abso-freaking-lutely. Do I mess it up sometimes? You best believe it. But day by day I’ve got to make that decision. We’ve all heard that old expression comparing bitterness to a poison you drink. I don’t want that to be part of my story anymore. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve made the decision to day by day, hour by hour, to not allow that bitterness to consume me anymore.