Just wanted to write a quick post about my dad, the guy that helped me so much throughout my life. While my father isn’t an atheist, or at least isn’t openly an atheist, he did instill in me the idea that things are always ok to question. My father never scorned me for asking anything, he always met my questions with joy and tried to answer them as best as he could.
Dad isn’t a highly educated man but he can do anything. I’m saddened at times knowing that my father sees my college education and some sort of proof that I am smarter than him but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. My father is one of the smartest men I have ever known. He has the kind of hard working know-how that only comes from a long life of dedication and love for his family. Dad would have given up anything if it meant that my brother and I had more. We were very poor when I was young but I never felt poor during those times. My dad would often times eat nothing but popcorn for lunch so that they could spend a little more money on food for the family. He scrimped and saved and always had a roof over our heads.
I can remember many night, my father rubbing his brow at the table going through the monthly bills. The stress was palpable and yet he always seemed to somehow make ends meet. My brother and I never felt as if we did without anything. We had clothes, shoes, games, toys, all the things that a child could have.
Sadly we never had one thing from my father, that is the words, “I love you.” See my father’s childhood wasn’t close to the experience of my own. When my father was just 12 years old his mother told him that she loved him as he went to school and upon his return she had vanished. He wouldn’t see her again for nearly a year. When my grandmother ran off my grandfather suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized. He wouldn’t get out of the asylum until after my grandmother returned.
During that year my father and his sister lived with an aunt and uncle. They too were alcoholics and while my uncle sexually abused my aunt he beat my father with anything he could get his hands on. My father told me of a time that he took a log chain and beat my father so severely that my dad thought he was going to die.
Then his mother showed back up and the first words out of her mouth were, “I love you.”
Dad is almost completely incapable of saying those words, they physically pain him and cause him a great deal of mental anguish. So he never said it, not once during my entire childhood did I ever hear my father tell me that he loved me. I knew he did because of all he did for us but it’s strange to explain the pain of never having heard those words.
If you’ve read my journey away from faith series you will know that shortly after my 18th birthday I hopped on a bus and headed to Texas. The night that I left the family drove me to the bus station and we sat waiting for the bus to arrive. It pulled up, I started to get on and my dad grabbed my arm. He hugged me close and said, “I love you.”
I cannot describe the emotion that coursed through my body that night. Even today when I think about it those same feelings are still there. I love my dad, and he loves me. Even though he doesn’t say it much I know he does.
Thank you dad for being amazing.
I love you!