On Christmas Day in 1985, my father watched us – his four children – unwrap their christmas gifts excitedly, and when every last gift was left exposed, open to our eager eyes, he went into his bedroom, came back out with a suitcase and left. Our lives were never the same. Stays in homeless shelters, long visits with friends, hunger and grief were our daily bread, it seemed.
Christmas since then has had a dark cloud over it; birthdays have been pressed down – smothered – with the weight of disappointment as yet another phone call did not come in. We’d watch for another 20 plus years as he’d start a new life with two other families, leaving us angry, abandoned and hurt.
But our mother never wavered in her insistence that we honor this man who abandoned us our father. We were to alway give him the respect I felt he no longer rightly deserved, but I kept quiet and did as I was told.
Flash forward 26 years later and all four of us have started to rebuild some sort of relationship with him. We talk to him with reserve, but at least we talk. And on my mother’s 58th birthday this July 17th, 2011, the universe – God – brought our family full circle. For the first time since that Christmas morning in 1985, we were all together under the same roof for my mother’s birthday: her four kids who had been separated for years by the coasts of the United States and prison; nearly all of her grandchildren; her two son-in-laws; and yes, her ex-husband, our father.
With no animosity in our hearts on the part of all parties involved, our world came around 360 degrees. And I share this story with you today because it’s proof that anything is possible as long as you stay true to your purpose, love with an open heart no matter how rightfully hurt you are and patience.
My mother said it was the best birthday she’s ever had, and, you know what? I think it was the best day WE have ever had: the absent father returned home, the abandoned children reclaimed and the deserted wife reaffirmed.
God is Good!