Who is Protector After Dad is Gone?
Our sense of security is often rooted in our fathers. After my dad died, I called out to God spontaneously, “Send me a protector!”
Where do we find that sense of safety that we lost?
I caution not to go looking for it in a romance. That was my first go-to. I did not realize exactly what I was doing. My reasoning was that God was buffering the loss of my father with a husband-to-be, the lifelong dream of being a wife.
You can imagine the sense of double loss I felt when that security blanket was ripped from my life, too, a year after my father died.
This Father’s Day will mark the 13th one without Dad. I don’t expect it to be a happy day, but I expect it to be at least a tolerable one. I love and miss my dad every day, but the edge is off my grief – most days. But sometimes I again feel the knife turn in my belly. And the tears flow.
I remember thinking after Dad died that while my pain was terrible, the grief was tolerable in one sense. My dad had not willingly left me. He had not walked away because he did not love me, as one important man had before Dad’s death. I knew Dad still loved me. And that soothed my hurt. And when my new romance ended? I bathed in the thought that my daddy loved me. That he’d always loved me. And always would.
I think realizing the eternal love of our parents assists us when our sense of value and safety are in jeopardy. But it is not enough.
Ten years after marrying a wonderful man I met the year before Mom died, it helps to know Dad isn’t gone. He’s away. But not gone. He didn’t leave me willingly. And I’ll see him again. It’s like he’s on a trip overseas or to a distant – very distant – star.
That would be a painful thought, though, if I thought I could never reach him again.
Oh, it is so very pleasant to still feel him in my life right now, though in a different way that when he was alive. I find pieces of my dad like crumbs along a trail. I come along the crumbs accidentally as I go about daily life. They used to cause me great pain. Now I feel delight. Peace. I feel love as if from above.
I see a postal vehicle, and I think of him. I smile. He was a mail carrier. I see a bird, and I remember his propensity to wake at dawn and listen to their songs. I happily greet people in the grocery store, and remember it was Dad I first watched do this. I don’t think there was ever a time we went to the grocery together that he didn’t run into someone he knew.
I follow these crumbs. Little blobs of memory. Traces of him. Of his life. They serve as a connection.
Dad is everywhere. He’s woven so tightly into my life that he is with me no matter where I go. But that isn’t the source of my security. My father isn’t a mystical being who now is able to manipulate or influence circumstances. He is not a god.
The grief and all the emotional kin I had over the death of my father led me into a process. That process took me from insecurity to security.
God Jehovah comforted me and spoke to me in a way that my daddy could not. He, the Lord, was the one who grounded me. He was the one who retrieved my sense of security and restored my sense of value and belonging.
I wish I could tell you all the intricate ways this transformation occurred. It would take a book. In fact, I’m writing that book. Bottom line, if we hope to find God, we must lay down what we think we know and what we want and search him out like a priceless treasure. We discover he is right there, waiting. And if we stray? He is waiting. He never turned me away. He taught me when I was willing. He spoke when I was listening. He changed me when I humbly asked.
God used my connection to Dad and Mom and he used their deaths to show me he was my protector. In fact, I learned that he had always been my protector. And always will be.
Where or when do you sense the presence of your dad most?
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