I get to choose.
On the eve of our departure to a milestone anniversary trip overseas, my forlorn and lonely father said, "It would be nice to get a few pictures now and then." Knowing his world had gotten progressively smaller over the past decade due to my mother's failing health, and despite the subtle undercut of guilt, I decided to honor his request. I thought I'd give him what I could to live vicariously through our travels, and to experience the glory of the sites and tastes through a few photos from my iPhone.
Throughout the time away, I followed through on my promise. I sent pictures of places and people, selfies of my wife and myself enjoying good food and wine, and making comments of how similar it looked to his ancestral homeland of Italy. Each time, I received notice that the message had been delivered, and then eventually read. For days and days and days. Delivered. Read. Delivered. Read. And all without a single comment or response. Nothing.
"Nothing" feels like an appropriate word to describe what it has felt like for as long as I can remember. I have worked hard to get more than nothing. I've hoped for something. Anything. And yes, at times there were a few small somethings, they never satiated my soul's desire for the kind response of my father to me, my life, and my world. For years, delivered and read without a response is how it has been.
One morning during the trip, while sipping coffee watching the sunrise over the Adriatic (isn't that amazing!?), I asked God this question: "What would you have me do with my father?" I sat with that question for what seemed like an eternity, until finally I felt my soul shift towards the answer, "I get to choose."
I get to choose. I don't get to choose how he's going to be, what he's going to offer or not. I don't get to choose how much of my soul's hunger he will feed, or not. I have worked hard my whole life to elicit something from him. But in the end, I don't get to choose what, if anything, he will give.
But I do get to choose how I am with regard to him. I do get to choose what I offer and how I engage. I do get to choose how my children will remember how I was in relation to my father, and what kind of man I am in relation to him even if I can't change how he is with me. I get to choose.
The hunger for a father - a present, kind, aware, responsive father - is in the heart of every person. It's there, and we long for him. And when we don't get what we need, we have a choice to fall into despair, resentment, and anger, or to allow for the loving heart of God to fill us with options. I get to choose whether I allow that resentment to be my story...or not. I get to choose whether I will continue sending pictures...or not. I get to choose.
I get to choose. And so do you. It is not what type of man your father is or was, but rather what type of man you are in response to him. What do you choose?
CEO Restoration Project