LIFE GOES ON
The cause of death will eternally be birth. As much as any of us would like to escape the jaws of our departure we simply cannot. We can see the curve in our own lives by watching our children grow as our grandparents and parents pass. Pass on. Even that phrase betrays our fear of the unknown. We all long to understand what happens after this life yet we all cling to our youth and vitality like it too isn’t a fleeting thing.
As I sit here typing my own biological Father has been taken off of life support and left in Gods hands. He has a sad song to sing to St. Peter at whatever gates lie beyond this life. His story was one of addiction, struggle, molestation and pain. He may have been one of the most selfish people I have ever met. That’s not to say he wasn’t without his moments of beauty. The man rolled cigarettes for two weeks straight so he could buy me a pair of Jordans for my 16th birthday. It means nothing to most but in our humble home on Detroits southwest side I assure you it was an incredibly kind gesture. One I gladly traded in my Pro-wings for.
This same man and I fought countless times and I never could seem to get right in his eyes. The terrors he put my sister through are unspeakable but those scars remain to this day. He is leaving behind two children who hardly even speak of him, let alone to him. Another child, whose Mother passed several years before from an overdose due to xanax and cocaine, that barely knows him. She being younger than my other sister and I so substantially that she doesn’t remember the details of our past and we don’t cue her in. It is a sad song. One whose melody I don’t care to hum before the audience.
My father is meeting the same fate as his father before him. His father had committed such horrific crimes against his own children that two of them decided to take him far away from everyone and allow him to die alone. Did he deserve that fate? They thought so but others in our own family would hardly agree. As my father passes he is comforted by my Aunt but his own children will not be in attendance. The cycle continues.
I would love to tell you that I am happy about his passing. That this day is bringing me closure but I simply cannot. Yes my father was terrible to us. Yes he was selfish as they come, but everyone deserves grace. Everyone. Rapists and murderers included. We do not get to judge and condemn. My heart is heavy for him as I fear he hasn’t shared genuine remorse. Not for my own selfish needs or my own desire to see my kid sister have some sort of closure. No. For him. Because he deserves to be free from the scars he caused in his own pain. From the horrors of his own past.
LESSONS OVER LOSSES
The Church refers to this sort of family history as a generational curse. I’ve met enough people who are uncomfortable with this terminology to know it could more accurately be summed up by simply saying… At some point someone has to break the cycle. I would so love to tell you I had figured this out in my youth and have lived this pristine life as a result. That would be a lie. Although, I was given every opportunity to do so and have pissed away more blessings in 36 years than some will ever be afforded.
See, unlike my biological father I was separated from that environment. My mother had divorced him and moved me halfway across the country to Dallas. She remarried and the two of them raised me in an Assemblies of God church. Private schools. The works. My step-father has been an amazing man in my life and put up with more than most could imagine.
God definitely has a sense of humor. Two of my children I haven’t seen since their Mother died of MRSA. Their grandmother is raising them and I am currently taking steps just to be in their life. My oldest daughter has decided her act of rebellion must lie in her being a model student as there is now way her mother and I will ever hope to figure out how to deal with it. My own children are cared for. They are being afforded every comfort a kid could ever hope to want.
However, I have been the absentee father my own was before me. I spent my 20’s going in and out of prison in active addiction. I do not make excuses for this behavior nor am I saying it is okay. It is from this crossroad that God has touched me. It is in the midst of this turmoil that I am speaking.
It’s the choices that we make that define who we are as people. See, I had allowed the abuses I suffered as a small child to affect my teenage years as well as my early adult life. I had allowed the savagery to consume me and became the very thing I claimed to hate. The reality is that the abuser and the abused have the same psychological profile. They are both coping with the madness they have endured, albeit it in two seemingly different ways. It’s what we decide to do that seals our fate.
FORGIVENESS IS KEY
Resentment poisons our souls. Clinging to the emotional imprint left by others is of absolutely no benefit to our lives. I have found that the God-sized hole in my chest can only be filled by grace and love. See, I’m not angry with my biological father. I understand what happened to him was in no way, shape or form his fault. He just hadn’t learned how to deal with what he had endured as a child. As a result, he passed it on to his own kids.
A mistake I almost repeated. As it says in the book of Proverbs, “It’s in mercy and in truth that we find atonement for our iniquity.” See I don’t get to blame my father, or his father for MY actions. I don’t get to use the horrors of my past as a smokescreen to ruin my own childrens lives.
Every day when we wake up we are to decide what type of life we are leading. Every day we get to decide what type of legacy we are leaving. Every day of our lives we get to decide how we are to respond to things happening around us. So choose wisely.