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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Rejection (11/15/04)

TITLE: I hate you!
By Keith Thomas
11/15/04

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I HATE YOU! His words rattled around in my head for a few moments wounding every part of my psyche that it touched. It was amazing how the emotional outburst of a five year old boy could bring such pain. I had just married his mother and we looked forward to building a life together. It was new start and we were excited. Together we had three children that we would be raising as one family. We had no idea how that would be accomplished. We didn’t even know what we didn’t know. Since both of us had failed in one marriage we carried more baggage and bad habits than we could have possibly imagined. But here we were driving along on our first trip together as a family and I had been completely and thoroughly rejected as a father. From the back seat with no provocation or previous discussion my “new son” screamed out I HATE YOU! His voice literally dripped with venom and disgust. There was no doubt in my mind that if he had the strength he would have killed me for messing up his life.
I have never like the term blended family. It always smacked of something different and not quite the same as a “real” family. We were determined that we would be a “real” family. How could we be a real family when my son hated me so much? Everything in me wanted to jump into the back of my old beat up Toyota give him something to hate me for. I had done nothing to deserve such treatment. Fortunately I held my tongue and my anger. My new bride apologized but I knew we were in for a long trip and I wasn’t thinking of just the honeymoon trip.
Not long ago that little boy became a dad for the second time. He is now 26 years old and as fine a young man as you would ever want to meet. I’ll never forget the moment when he handed me my second granddaughter. As I held her and her sister in my arms I said “Son you’re a lucky man”. His reply? Dad luck has nothing to do with it. It was your love and hard work. I hope I’m half the dad you are.
I don’t know exactly when the change happened. As tears filled my eyes I thought back to that fateful day 21 years earlier. Along the line God showed me that I was the adult and it was my responsibility to lead this young boy home. He had been divinely and providentially placed in my care. Before I could become his father he had to become my son. I had to demonstrate to him that my love was unconditional. He had to know that my acceptance of him was not based on his behavior nor on his ability to love me back. I began to look for ways to support him and to affirm him. There were times when I consciously considered ways to demonstrate love to him as I drove home from work. And now I look back over the life we have lived together I can honestly say it’s been worth all of the effort. I grow weak to consider the number of times I failed. How often I would lash out at him because he was an easy target.
I also think about the times standing in the cold rain watching him play football. I rushed him to the hospital with broken bones and other ailments that plague boys as they grow. I bought his first car. He learned that not all dads are good mechanics so I bought him a car that worked. Somewhere on that journey between the rejection and grandchildren I became his dad.
I am now a pastor and a leader. God’s people are kind and every week I hear about preaching a good sermon or receive a thank you note for some service rendered. I appreciate their kind words but the words that bring me greatest pleasure are “I would like you to meet my dad”.
I think about the man he has become and the one I have become. You know perhaps it’s me who has grown more in the last 21 years.


Member Comments
Member Date
Barbie Jones11/22/04
Keith this is a beautiful story. I experienced something similar from my daughter,that I gave birth to. She was fifteen and in all kinds of trouble. She will be 21 next month and swares that I'm the greatest mother in the world. God does reward us if we faint not.

God bless,
Barbie
Mitzi Busby11/22/04
Keith, beautiful. Parenting is so worth it.
WENDY DECKER11/22/04
Dear Keith,

That was a well-told story. It's also wonderful that you stuck it out and didn't run away like so many men do.

For future submissions, it's easier on the eyes of the reader if you leave some spaces in betweetn paragraphs.

Blessings,

Wendy
Marjorie Arrowood11/23/04
My husband's daughters refer to me as "My other mother" and it is such a blessing. We also struggled to work two families into one and this article was a nice reminder of how "worth it" the struggle is!
Debbie OConnor11/23/04
I love this! It is beautifully written and full of truth. A great message for those who are starting over with family. You can't expect to be loved and accepted immediately, but if you are faithful that love and trust will grow over time. Great job!
Joanne Malley11/23/04
I'd say you have something to feel proud about! Very nice story.
Blessings,
Joanne
Tesiri Moweta11/24/04
You have touched my heart profoundly with the message in your piece. I think it's the most amazing thing to know that our Father's love for us has nothing to do with our love for Him.
As a parent, you are a wonder and will keep getting better.God bless you!
Keep winning and shining for Jesus.
Kathy Cartee11/25/04
Very well written and a reminder of what a real Dad is.
I was raised with a step Dad myself and often felt rejected, but I guess I had never thought about how he must have felt rejected by myself and my sisters.
I think that we just did not want to share our Mom with anyone.
Thanks for this eye opener.
Linda Germain 11/28/04
Keith,
You send me searching for tissues! The wisdom you have earned from walking the talk needs to be put in a BOOK for all dads to read, not just the "step" kind. Well done. I am looking forward to MORE writing from you.:0) ~LG~