So many anniversaries, so much time spent marking dates on our calendars. Celebrating anniversaries, mourning death anniversaries, we spend so much time doing and not enough time reflecting on the true meaning of these important marks on our calendars.
In our reflections, do we smile at what has transpired or do we regret what was not said or accomplished? The earth has come full circle but have we? The geometry of the anniversary describes the different parts of something that fits together, that relate to each other. Can we relate?
My father had always been the most difficult person, the most challenging man I ever met. He was an abusive husband and a neglectful father. As the years progressed, our relationship regressed. Before you knew it, our relationship was non-existent and that was OK with us.
I gave my heart to the Lord two years ago. The first miracle at that time was my father coming to visit me, in my home, after not seeing each other for more that six years. When I saw him, I was angry and suspicious. “What is he doing here?” I asked my husband, “What does he want from me, after all this time?” I did not want him in my life, not anymore. But God had other ideas.
My father was dying of congestive heart failure and he was on a mission. During a moment when we were alone, my father spoke words that I had always wanted to hear but had given up on. He said, “I just want to say how sorry I am”. I looked at him with contempt and said, “Sorry for what?” He said, “I’m sorry for the life you endured because of me. I’m sorry for all the pain I caused and for all that you missed out on because of me”. I could only look at him through tear-filled eyes.
As a neglected and abused daughter, I was cold to his apology. But as a Christian, forgiven and redeemed, how could I not extend the same forgiveness to him. The words that came from my mouth surprised me. I responded to him, “How could I not forgive you? I have been forgiven of all that I have done, so of course, I forgive you”. My father, sick and broken, stood before me and wept.
My father passed away on May 9, 2004. It was Mother’s Day. This May I will commemorate the most ironic anniversary of my life. For the Lord to take my father on a day that our family celebrates all the women he hurt is truly ironic. I will remember my father for all of those past transgressions and mourn what could have been. But I will end with rejoicing because God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to restore and make new something that was dead and broken; a father and daughter relationship.
Although we could not make up for lost time, we created new and priceless memories. I will not lie and say that all was rosy and bright, but we did have our time. We fought and we cried. We laughed and we learned to see each other in a different light.
As I reflect on all the anniversaries in my life, wonderful ones and painful ones, I wonder and ask myself questions. Have I grown at all? Do I know more or do I actually know less, if that’s possible. All the things that I thought I knew, somehow, do I have to learn them again or do I trust the Lord to teach me all over again? Are my eyes different? Are the lenses that I view the world with the same as when I was growing up or has the Lord given me new sight?
My advice to all those girls who have irreconcilable differences in those important relationships is that you allow the Redeemer to set you free. At an appointed time, at an unexpected time, He will put together the puzzle that is your life; you just have to give Him all the pieces. I celebrate my father’s death anniversary, his departure from this life, as I allow myself to reflect on those wonderful days that now define our relationship.
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