Monday, June 16, 2008

A Man of Few Words

I talked to my dad today. In his usual way, his words were few, though well-chosen and without complication. "You can call more often, Honey. I don't always know when to call you."

My dad wants me in his life. . . .

A couple of weeks ago, nearing the end of a short visit to their winter home in Sebring, Florida, I sat with Mom and Dad after enjoying a wonderful dinner. Tears slipped down my cheeks, eventually choking out my voice, as I began to give them an unexpected glimpse into their daughter's story.  God was calling me to a deeper place. A place that required cleansing. . . . and a vulnerability I found intensely risky.

Dad set aside his dinner and locked my gaze from across the table. I asked forgiveness for the facade, for the fear. Through trembling lips, my words came. Tumbling and awkward. "I need to know that you love me with my crap. Not just when I sing or when I get my name in a book." I paused. Then I emptied my heart. My chest heaved as sobs continually interrupted my less than eloquent story. In the end, all I had left were tears. 

Within seconds, Dad made his way around the table. He wrapped my exposed soul in his arms and reminded me where I stood with him. "You just be who you are. I love you." I'm not sure I can remember the last time I laid my cheek across my dad's shoulder or experienced the comfort and safety of his extended embrace. He's a hugger, for sure, but not always the warm fuzzy, expressive type. 

That day, within our small circle, I heard something I'd previously only assumed to be true: my dad loves me just the way I am. As I'm in the process of being perfected, letting go of old skin, walking into tomorrow's clothes, I'll have days of extreme doubt. But this man of few words— my dad, my protector—showed me the picture of Truth: I am wanted, and I am loved. No matter what. 

I love my dad. He does a great imitation of Jesus.


Christianne said...

wow, robin. as i read this story, i got goose bumps all up and down my arms and onto my shoulders and my back, and they just kept coming, rising up and falling down, rising up and falling down, the more i read through each paragraph. this is such a powerful story.

i love that your dad responded the way he did.

i have a lot of respect for you in that place, robin. that you took that very big vulnerable risk to sit across from your parents and share more of you than they'd known before that moment, in an effort for greater transparency, authenticity, and perhaps integration in your life . . . well, it's brave. it's something i haven't had the courage to do in certain close relationships of my own. i feel too scared. scared that they won't see my heart, scared that they won't get it, scared that they'll pretend they didn't hear it or just say nothing.

but you did it. you were brave. you honored your heart and your story. and they loved you, wholly, in that place.

i'm so glad.

ps: wow, i can totally see where you take after your papa! so cute. :)

ImageBearer said...

Wow, Christianne, goose bumps? I SO appreciate your kind expression. Thanks, God, for affirming me through this new friend.

I have to tell you that I had goose bumps, too, and the kind of heart tears that silently trickle for no reason except that the Spirit dwells in your heart and He's gently tugging at it. Craziness. Sitting at breakfast in a public place with my parents and hearing so clearly the tug to talk. "What? Why? I can't! Not here!" It was all I could do to contain it at that point. I had to excuse myself to have a chat with God. "Come, on, no, please don't make me do it." Fear gripped me, and he let me slide. But I knew I'd be spillin' before the trip was up.

God's constantly needing to remind me, "People's reactions are not your responsibility. Open your mouth and speak. Be obedient, and I'll take care of the rest." Oh, sure, yeah, right. ;-)

But here's the truth: others may be freed because of my obedience. My mom called me the morning after I bared my soul. She apologized for her reaction (very different from my dads - maybe another post — better yet, a coffee chat!) and confessed that she didn't really know what to think. OK. That's fair.

Maybe Mom will eventually find shelter under the tree God's given me to begin to explore her own story. Perhaps she needs my path through the deep snow to help her make a way. It's where healing starts and the seeds of freedom are planted.

Christianne, when it's your turn to step into that place, know there's life on the other side—maybe for two, and you don't even know it!

Christianne said...

wow. thanks so much, robin, for that thorough response and the encouragement that others can be blessed through our obedience in the context of their own story and growth. i'm feeling for your mom right now but think it's great she felt enough freedom to tell you she didn't know what to do with all of it or what to think.

i can really relate to those tears that flow in silence but with a knowledge that the Spirit is moving. just this morning, i had one such experience. i found my spirit bubbling up and tears spilling over and my heart confessing things to God that i didn't even know were there, and i knew it was the Spirit at work in me to free me and bring me into closer communion and surrender to Him.

and yeah, those bathroom stalls can be great prayer closets in the scary moments of life, can't they? :)

ps: i would love to take you up on that coffee chat. i'm so thankful God has crossed our paths, my new friend!

Anonymous said...

Your last line says it all, Robin.
I'm glad you received the assurance that all is well. It's just nice to hear it again sometimes, isn't it?

You're on a courageous journey. I admire you for that. God bless you!

Susan said...

You have an amazing way with words, girl. You should be a writer....HA! You already are. Maybe you should be a wait, you're one of those also. You are just too cool for words. Love ya, friend!