The Importance of Family…

I miss my grandma.

Tonight I watched a movie I had never seen before: Antwone Fisher. Since I don’t appreciate movies being spoiled for me, I’m going to warn all readers that if you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do. It’s available for rent on iTunes. For those who have seen it, please continue reading.

Throughout the movie, I felt the tears welling up. At any point where Antwone was bullied and remained quiet to try and stifle the anger, any time he was asked about his father, or anytime he was made fun of for “not being with a woman,” I was clenching my fists and gritting my teeth. No, his story isn’t the same as mine. But I know what that kind of anger feels like. And even though, my anger never got me into trouble, I have often found myself ready to punch something until my hands bled.

Antwone didn’t meet his mother until much later in the movie. I’ve known my mother my whole life. Antwone never knew his father and neither have I known my father, but for him, he got to meet his father’s family. He met aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., etc., but the one person he met that really stood out to me – the one relative I broke down weeping over – was his grandma.

I miss my grandma so much. She passed when I was ten years old. At the time I didn’t know how to deal with the loss. My school gave me that whole week off and since I didn’t know what to do with myself, I spent every day in the church parking lot nearby playing roller hockey by myself. What I felt then is what I feel now. But the one difference between then and now is I know why I feel this way.

I miss my grandma because she never intimidated me. Instead, she would play cards with me. Cribbage, Go Fish, UNO, Skip Bo – whatever the game was, she’d play with me until she wanted to sleep, eat, or watch her TV shows. And sometimes, when she didn’t like what she was watching, she’d ask if I was bored with my Legos and would want to try to beat her again at cribbage. While I was in out of my mother’s custody and unsure about whether or not my grandpa loved me, my grandma taught me the most important thing I have ever learned about this world: There can be peace. Peace within yourself.

I will never meet my father. At the very least, the odds of actually meeting him are overwhelmingly not in my favor. His name isn’t on my birth certificate. He never called to check up on my mother. And, try as she might, my mother simply cannot remember his last name with much certainty. And believe me, she has tried.

It really does eat at me that I won’t be able to shake his hand or play a game of cribbage with him. When I think of why it bothers me, thousands of words come to mind and to spill them all here might take days – that’s if I can even make sentences out of them. I’ve asked God for help, too; I’ve asked Him so many times for the privilege of meeting my other half. But with whatever effort I or others have given – weak or strong – I come up with nothing but dead ends. If I only have a first name, I can’t even get started.

Instead of praying for that privilege again tonight, I prayed for something else: The privilege of meeting his family. I prayed that I might be able to shake hands with his brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, and – most importantly – his mother. I prayed for the privilege of having her aged hands cup my face and say, “Welcome.” As I wept, I prayed.

In all honesty, it will probably never happen – at least, not in this life. In the meantime, though, I can appreciate the honor and privilege of knowing the family I have now – no matter how irregular we may be. I can appreciate my mother for never missing an opportunity to say, “I love you.” I can appreciate my grandfather for teaching me the importance of taking responsibility, even when you don’t want to. I can appreciate my brother for teaching me what it means to take pride in a family name, even if it didn’t come from our fathers. And I can appreciate the sweet, but short time I had with my grandmother for bringing peace in the hurricane that is life.

I’m glad my roommate wasn’t home tonight. I don’t like it when others see me cry – especially over my father issues, which happens nearly every time I watch a movie about a kid who never knew his father. It isn’t pretty. Trust me. I go through hundreds of tissues trying to clean up the snotty, teary mess running down my face. It’s disgusting.

But I’m glad I watched that movie. And I’m glad, above all else, to have God as my own Father.

God bless.

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Jeremy

Cherokee / Whovian / Sherlockian / Aspiring Auror / Lover of Jesus, Scripture, and creativity / MATS Student at George Fox Seminary.

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