I have to say that my purpose in blogging about my father, I in no way, shape, or form wish to dishonor him. He is simply a man who is lost to the Lord, who was carried away by his own rebellious nature, who fought in Vietnam (2 tours) and is still haunted by the memories of what he did and what he witnessed there, who had a poor relationship with his own father, and who battled various addictions throughout his life from alcohol to spending... all of which lead to very little time for a daughter... My only purpose is to show by real-life example the brokenness that happens when a father is not "Courageous".
One day shortly after I turned 5, my dad came to pick me up to take me to Gaylord for the day to ... meet his new wife. He had gotten married. What???? Married??? I was shocked, to say the least. I had no idea that he even had a girlfriend. Due to other circumstances in my life during the previous year and a half or so, I had learned to stuff any thought or emotion that would lead to an emotional response of any kind, so I quickly put all my hurt and all my tears in a little box, saying little. Words cannot express the hurt I felt, though. A wedding, one of the most important events in a person's - my dad's - life... and I, his daughter, wasn't invited. On the way there, my stomach was tied in knots... the only thing I knew about step-mothers was that they were supposed to be ugly and mean. At least that's what I had learned in the movie Cinderella. I was in for quite a shock. Ruthann was a beautiful woman, with a gentleness I was not at all prepared for. I had been prepared to dislike her... but much to my confusion and alarm, I actually really liked her. The most important thing she said to me was that she did not intend to try and take my mother's place, but she just wanted to get to know me and be my friend. Phew! However, I then faced another dilemna... I was torn in my loyalty to my mother. I felt I had betrayed her somehow by liking this 'new wife' that had taken the place that was supposed to be reserved for her. My father returned me that day and I went straight to my room sobbing... for a couple of hours, according to my mother. Finally, she coaxed me out of my room trying to get me to tell her why I had been crying. Finally she asked the right question, "was she mean to you???" (This only started my sobbing all over again, by-the-bye) "NO!" I croaked. "She was nice!" I am so very thankful that my mother gave me permission to 'like' Ruthann, and never said a cross word about her (or my dad, for that matter), and that Ruthann never sought to take my mother's place in my life, but simply showed me kindness.
Now that I am an adult, I understand a little more all the 'stuff' surrounding that time in our lives, but I still see his wedding as incredibly selfish on his part... and even still a faint glimmer of the hurt from that day arises every time I see their wedding picture hanging on their wall.
As God has grown me in Christian maturity, the Lord has made me increasingly aware of the depths of my selfishness- especially when it comes to my children. I've been so blessed by my husband's example and have learned through it, with the Lord's help, to put aside my selfishness for the betterment of those around me... I definitely do not want to continue handing down this heritage of selfishness and detachment to these two precious gifts Jon and I have been given!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking only to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~ Philippians 2:3-4
Important life events should be shared within a family, even if it's more convenient to not have to compensate for young ones to tag along.