god created man
in his image
my primary source
of guilt and pain
my family and church
our innocence lost
he was a jealous god
fear trumped love
anger overruled compassion
forgive me father
I forgive you god
for all our sins
we’re only human
_ _ _
B L O O D L I N E S
Purging an old covenant. First memories of my dad. Small prairie church in the 1970s. Our family fills an entire front row.
My father is 38 (anxious). He has 5 children under eight years old and his wife is carrying their sixth child. He is trying to sell the family farm.
Squeaming, screaming. Church feels unbearably long for children and parents (there’s no peace on earth).
W O N D E R
I’m three years old and staring at a church bulletin. A line drawing of an adult Jesus. For the first time, I notice a nose isn’t the smudged dot from my drawings. My eyes trace and memorize this new shape.
T H U N D E R
When home, my dad yells, snarls. We weren’t still and quiet enough. His belt swings hard against our bare flesh. We all taste the burning sting and shame of fear, anger, pain.
I close my eyes unable to block my older brother’s terror. His anguishing bone chilling howls of horror. I still see your purple watery face. You are only six.
Instilling a fear of god. Subconsciously, I start hating going to church (anxiety) — and I grew up resenting my father’s authoritative power. We did not understand each other. We lived and spoke different languages. I ended up focusing on what my dad wasn’t.
C O N T R A D I C T I O N S
Identifying, processing. This trauma was extremely difficult for me. My dad wasn’t a violent man. He was soft-spoken. He always cared for us, was always there. He was hardworking and sombre. And I can vividly remember each and every rare time he genuinely smiled — or lost his temper. Both very rare.
I N N O C E N C E
It’s been 10 years since our family’s last Christmas with our father. Even though he never said it, I know he loved me. It was difficult for us to give and receive. We both had trouble with emotions.
Different views, perspectives. Time has helped with understanding. Maybe it wasn’t fair to judge my father. Maybe meaningful relationships can eclipse one traumatic moment.
Today, I open my heart to you dad. I apologize for the walls I built. And I forgive you for your old trespasses. I’m ready to live and love you freely. Peace to you — and peace to me.
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L I N K S: