Wednesday, June 18, 2014
God with Skin on
“Ron’s not really your Dad,” Mom said it flatly, like she’d asked me to pass the salt at the dinner table. “Only reason I married Ron was to get out of Howard City. You remember George, he’s your real dad. ” - (Where Wings Come from - TL Boehm)
I’ve been turning those words in the soft soil of my heart for over twenty years. That simple statement that erased half of my known identity and created a hole in my soul called “fatherless.” Whatever genetic truth exists unseen beneath my skin my simple reality is that the man who raised me left this earth without ever definitively defending his position and the man now accused of contributing to creation of said offspring has never fully placed me in the position of “eldest daughter.” Whatever demons my mom exercised by speaking those words – I cannot blame her for my response. Whatever fear, lack or personal shame my “father” has or had over my existence – I cannot assuage. I can only tell you – whoever you are who will listen – that the wound is still fresh, the pain is real and there is no salve or platitude that eases the ache. I am not angry but I am a little broken.
For those of you who speak into my life or perhaps into the lives of others who are staring down the smoking barrel of similar chaos trying to decide if the burn is simply indicative of being winged or mortally injured, your words, though well-meant, are the soul stinging equivalent of slapping a fresh tattoo. “Your father is the man who raised you.” “God is a father to the fatherless.” “What about so and so who was adopted, the product of rape, parents in jail – it could be worse…” I’m not arguing any of those points – but my reality is that I am one living breathing human who only wants to crawl up into the lap of her papa and feel real arms around me and feel against my cheek the strong heartbeat of a spirit in sync with mine. The only words that would matter would be those gently spoken from the lips of Truth: “my daughter. I love you.” To know beyond doubt that the empty place in my soul – the place called “fatherless” is filled. Instead, I am here, without shelter, without protection. With the expectation from those who might comfort me that I am a grown woman of God and should already be able to speak the scattered pieces back in line because I know I must command the mountain to move. Have you forgotten the foundational manifestation of love? Did you skip the words “He gave….” Am I so unlovable that contact would cause you to vomit in sheer disgust? Or is it that platitudes don’t require an investment of flesh. Lip service, even with God is just that. If the words from your tongue conveyed the love of a benevolent Father I would be swept away by the joy. Instead, here I am once again playing the part of Tammy the terrible warning. Don’t talk. DO.
I’m not angry and I’m not picking at anyone in particular. My intent is only to serve as counsel that even though the person in front of you may be a full grown Christian, or a prickly cactus – or both – that does not exempt their basic need for comfort. I do not discount the power of God’s word – but in the heat of battle – for me it will be the touch of another soldier and the words “Fall back. I’ll cover you.” We all battle something and sometimes we all need that very real, very physical manifestation of God with skin on at our side.
PS: if you are a family member, before you pick up a phone or a rope – please read carefully what I’ve said and what I say now. I place no blame on anyone but myself for my personal feelings regarding this situation or any situation in my life. I don’t hate you. I’m not mad at you and I’m not slandering you. Whatever peace you follow is yours and this is all I want for any of us. Peace. This post isn’t a callout about you. It is an admonition for those who may read and may consider themselves Christians. That is all it is.