Dear Father, February 24, 2010
I still, after twenty-two years, have never met you. I’ve held bitterness, anger, rage, frustration and even hate towards you throughout most of my life. You weren’t there when I was born; you weren’t there to hear my first words; you weren’t there to see my first steps; you weren’t there to see my first day of school; you weren’t there to hear me read for the first time; you weren’t there to see me write for the first time; you weren’t there to teach me how to throw a baseball, how to shoot a basketball, how to change a tire, how to shave; you weren’t there to teach me about dating; you weren’t there to teach me about college; not a single Father’s Day card has ever been addressed to you; at my graduation, there wasn’t a seat reserved for you; and you won’t be there for my wedding.
Every family reunion, you left me abandoned to tell everyone that I’m a bastard child. You left me there to grow up on my own. I had to suffer my grandma’s death, my grandpa’s discipline, my mother’s depression, my first date rejection, my senior prom date ditching me all without your consolation. Unlike many fathers, you weren’t there to wipe the tears from my eyes, to pat me on the back and give advice or just to say “It’ll be okay.” I’ve had to find ways to do all those on my own. And when I couldn’t, guess what you did then: you made me someone else’s burden! When you weren’t there to tell me not to take my own life, someone else stepped up and did the dirty work for you. Someone else, who didn’t have to, loved me like you couldn’t, like you didn’t.
I’ve hoped that you would be overwhelmed with suffering. I’ve hoped that something would strike you so hard that you would never recover from it. I’ve even hoped that you would die. But there is something I want you to know: you aren’t my real father. You may think you are because you had a fun night out with my mom twenty three years ago, but Somebody else gave me life. A few years ago, I learned that a man named Jesus died to grant the orphans, the abandoned children like me, this thing called adopting love. It’s a beautiful gift and if I were to ever meet you, I’d tell you about it. But you aren’t here and you probably won’t be. So this is why I write to you.
I want to tell you what my Real Father has taught me. He’s taught me about this thing called grace; something you and I are both in dire need of. At its core, it’s the most scandalous thing the world could ever know. But at the very same moment, it is the most precious thing the world will ever know. It tells the murderer he’s not guilty; the prostitute she’s not defiled; the cowardly man who abandons the women he sleeps with that he’s not to blame. But it requires one thing: you.
I don’t care if you are never in my life. In fact, it’ll be easier on us both if you aren’t. But one thing I do hope for is that, although you have caused me so much pain and nearly brought me to death, you come to receive this gift. I may not meet you in this world, but God knows I might meet you in the next. Please, even though you were never there for me, be there to meet the Father. Be there, show up, stand like a man and face your Father! Here’s the easiest part for you: He’s right there hanging over your shoulder waiting – begging! – you to turn around. He’s not going to kill you; He’s not going to hit you; heck, He’s not even going to yell at you! He’s just going to wipe your tears away, take you by the hand, and walk you in truth. If there is one thing you could do for me, one thing to redeem all the things you didn’t do, please walk with Him. When you see His face, when you hear His voice, you will know Him because He’s been whispering to you all your life, though you may not have heard. But in that moment, listen and obey. Please, I beg you.
The son you never knew