There is one whose words are like sword thrusts, but the words of the wise bring healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18
Well the years passed, and I compensated... I compensated by learning to be a bit of a chameleon, becoming the person I thought I needed to be so everyone would 'like' me. I became totally numb to my father's harsh words (which were always spoken in a joking manner)- "Hi, Wen, Ruthann made me call...." or "So, you really *!@#* that one up didn't ya?" (another regular phrase that still graces our conversations to this day) and so on and so on (as well as numb to the harsh words of others). But I still loved him dearly, and longed to be "good enough" to really feel (or at least know on some level) that I was loved by my father and not just a burdensome responsibility. Not once did he say 'I love you' when dropping me off or ending a phone call*, not a band concert did he make it to, not a prom dress did he approve, not a date did he have a 'fatherly chat' with... he essentially missed my entire life, and I missed his as well. The teen years came and with it my interest in boys grew so that I was dubbed "a boy-crazy teen". What is so sad about that is no one realized that I really wasn't all that 'boy-crazy' I just desperately wanted/needed to be loved by my dad. Statistics show the unhealthy patterns of girls (and boys to an even greater extent) whose fathers are MIA, and I was no exception.
Many years ago I watched the movie "Hope Floats". In it the main character, played by Sandra Bullock, finds out her husband was having an affair with her 'best friend', after which she and her daughter move back to her childhood home with her mother. *spoiler* The woman's mother dies and her husband comes to the funeral only to deliver divorce papers. The daughter is totally set on going with her father, though he has no intention of taking her along... she packs her suitcase and puts it in his car, only to have her father take it out again and again. He hops in the car and the little girl is sobbing, "but.... you want me! You WANT Me!!" He ends up driving away with his daughter screaming/sobbing after him, "YOU WANT ME!!!!!" In that moment, I realized I was that little girl.... and sobbed ... and sobbed ... and sobbed... the Lord had used a silly movie to break through the wall I had been building since I was tiny. I had only been a Christian a short time, but God spoke so very clearly to me and here is what He said, "Dearest Wendy, I Am your Father...never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." Total peace. Total comfort. With that one simple statement, He released me from the emotional bondage which characterized my entire life up to that point.
*He did eventually learn to say, "I love you", a story I'll share at another time...I was 18...