Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birth Of Innocence

I am many things to you, I imagine...

I am your firstborn.  I know that you must have anticipated my entry into the world with bated breath, scared to death as every parent must be, that you would ruin me in some way.  As imperfect beings, this is inevitable.  We carry what we have become and who we are at the core into our interactions with others.  These things take shape and form to become something horrible or beautiful.  In photographs, you beam with pride as you hold me in your arms...innocence in the arms of a monster.  Daddy's little girl.

I am the reminder of who you once were.  Headstrong and capable, independent and prideful, intelligent and passionate - charming as hell.  You could walk into a room and bring light when you chose to...I know that trick.  You could have a conversation with someone and make them feel like they are worth a million dollars...I know that one, too.  You could make someone fall in love with you and dismiss them in the same moment...also guilty.  When my mother used to tell me in anger that I was just like you, it turned my stomache.  I wonder how you would feel if you knew that...

I am the one who turned my back on you all those years ago...the one you resent the most because you never thought I would do it.  You thought you could live for yourself and fulfill your selfish desires; you thought you were entitled to whatever made you happy in the moment and everyone else could deal with it.  You thought you were that important and I proved you wrong.  I took away your power and control for a heartbeat in time and you hated me for it.

The truth is, daddy, that you taught me a lot.  You taught me to protect myself at all costs.  You taught me not to trust.  You taught me to have the upper hand so you can't get hurt.  You taught me that controlling and manipulating people was the only way to get what you want.  You taught me that men only care about the aesthetic.  You taught me that marriage was a sham.  You taught me that God doesn't care about the heart.  You taught me that leaders in the church are not to be trusted.  You taught me that my self-worth is dependent on what other people think about me.  You taught me all that.  But here's the thing...

I will be a mom one day.  I will mess up.  I will fail.  I will disappoint.  But the qualities you lacked the most in parenting have turned into some of my biggest assets.  Because of what you have taught me, I desire to be the opposite.  I am self-aware.  I know what my tendencies are and I work hard almost daily to check myself...check my heart, check my motivations.  I search for truth.  I strive to be honest and transparent with the people I love.  I want to be held accountable for my actions and choices.  I have had to learn the hard way that I am only responsible for myself and I need to let everything else go.  I try very hard to speak truth into others' lives.  I desire to love and be loved from a humble, God-centered place I call my imago dei.

No one has ever hurt me the way you have, and I hope I will be able to forgive you for that someday.  But rest assured that everything you taught me was not in vain.  Just like He promised, God is working out something beautiful and pure and innocent through the pain.  I would imagine that would be every parents' hope...that even though they do indeed "ruin" the innocent, that there is a God that their beloved would grow to know and love that will save them from the monster they have most assuredly embodied.

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