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Absentee Dads: A Daughter’s Personal Story of Forgiveness

Last year, the father I’ve never met checked into the hospital for minor surgery. There’s no guarantee that whoever goes under the cloak of anesthesia will come out safely, minor surgery or not, so I imagine it raised the concerns of the people who actually know and love him. In an effort to rally the legions of children he’s left his genetic footprint on, my oldest half-sister—bless her heart—sent me a Facebook message asking me if I would come to see him during his brief stay, either before or following his procedure.

She and I have never met face-to-face, but have been in contact via inbox conversations, so she took the opportunity to try a little sisterly persuasion by tugging ever-so-gently at my heartstrings. She peddled quotable comments about the past being beyond our control but the future being ours to dictate and design. Then she pulled out the big guns: Biblical scripture. God wanted me to forgive. It was right there in the Word. And my refusal to get on board with this impromptu Brady Bunch moment was throwing a monkey wrench in the Master’s master plan.

Somehow, somewhere, someone got forgiveness and foolishness all tangled and intertwined together. Forgiveness, on its own, is mentally and emotionally letting go of any grievance, any hard feelings, any smoldering resentments you have against a person, even a situation. But expectations from forgiveness can be stretched way too far. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you want to be bothered with them. It doesn’t mean you want them to bring a covered dish to your bridal shower or text you a bunch of flimsy well wishes on your birthday. It is very possible to let go of the feelings that are keeping you in personal bondage and still not want to smile all in their face. Sometimes it’s just enough to forgive. That is the healing in and of itself.


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One thought on “Absentee Dads: A Daughter’s Personal Story of Forgiveness

  1. Anonymous says:

    THERE ARE SO MANY EFFECTIVELY FATHERLESS children. Absentee Dads are sometimes absent because they lose custody to a woman who is angry/vengeful enough that she isn't thinking about her children. Our society presumes that the mother is naturally the custodial parent and regardless of how bad a mother she will almost always be given custody and be able to drive the father out by screeaming and violence or by legal means. Many men foolishly are unwilling to eat shit from their angry spouse and the legal system for their childrens sake and just give up and move on. Children who have grown up missing their fathers or whose fathers have died fighting the state to try and get his children back should sue the relavent bureacrats. If you were placed in the care of your drug addicted mother and then sexually abused by her string of "boyfriends" , forced into prostitution or had to run away to the streets to escape, then I think that you have a good arguement that your civil rights have been violated as a result of unlawful and unconstitutional gender discrimation (against your father). Even if he wasn't a very good father his string of "girlfriends" would have been much less likely to have harmed you.

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