I have not seen my Dad or talked to my Dad since I left home 15 years ago when I was told that I was never welcome back due to leaving without their blessing or approval. So when I opened the mail box Friday Night and had a letter with a return address of R R Gilbert, I was absolutely shocked. I could not breath for a minute or two. I felt the air had been sucked out of me.
The first question was do I open or not open the letter? I quickly calmed my feelings and decided I would open it, read it and then would have to deal with whatever was presented to me.
The letter from my Dad was one that was an apology for failing in raising me and my siblings, not being available or interested in our lives as children and not supporting Mom in raising us. Dad stated if because of these failures this was the reason I left home, he bares the blame and responsibility. It grieves him that he caused me to lose interest in, to lose confidence, rest, joy in the one place we can retreat to and be accepted. He stated he is writing a similar letter to my siblings and asked that I keep this to myself. His prayers is that the Lord would make up the difference and may this letter help heal the hurt/wound he has caused.
This is nothing I expected to read in this letter.
I have shared the letter with those who have been very involved in my life and who have been instruments used to help me deal with my past, to put things in perspective, to make sense out of right and wrong, to understand God's love for me and the truth. I understand where my Dad is coming from in his request, but just as he asked me to never discuss what when on in our home [and I have], I will share that my Dad has apologized. My life is not a secret and I will continue to live an open book, I have nothing to hide. I also know that I need the prayers of others and will benefit from their input in how to take this from here, and sharing this letter is how I will get that help.
My heart was grieved and thankful at the same time.
Grieved for the knowledge of how hard this must have been for my Dad to write and for the years of heartache that can't be undone. Thankful that my Dad sees some things and for the chance to show love to him in a way that I have not been shown love.
But in the midst of all this, the memories come back to haunt me...many of them create nightmares, even at 36 years of age. The feelings flood like it was just yesterday. The fear takes over my heart. All I can do is cry.
I know God understands when others do not. I know God cares when others aren't caring. I know God is walking right here beside me even when others have left me to go this alone. I know God has a plan, even though I don't always understand it. I know God loves me, deeply loves me, more than I can imagine, even when I don't feel it and when I have not experienced love by a parent.
Please pray for me that I know what to do with this and know how to respond, if I even should respond. I truly would love to communicate to Dad that I am not bitter and do not hold this against him and that he is forgiven. How to say this to him, I do not know yet. The fear that my Mom doesn't know he wrote this and will not let him read any response I send to him, are horrific feelings.
If you don't know my history very well, please know I have NEVER regretted my decision to leave home!!! I am a totally different person and have gratitude beyond words to God for the love, happiness, peace, forgiveness and harmony I have in my life now. I know I still face some giant battles because of my upbringing and struggle with truly feeling loved, loved with no partiality or contingency, approved of without having to prove anything, but with the Lord's help, I truly hope that I continue to be successful in working through this baggage to be the woman He wants me to be. And as I continue to become that, I know that that means I have to address various things from my past. I only ask for your prayers and God's strength to do this.