I once had a dream that I visiting my dad in Los Angeles. I was walking through a random neighborhood when I found him working at a corner store owned by an elderly asian couple. When I walked in the asian woman was yelling at him because he was putting up rotten fruit on the shelves instead of fresh ones. I didn’t understand why he was putting bad fruit on the shelves but my dad seemed fine with what he was doing.
When his shift was over we began our long walk home. During our walk my dad would stop by different houses to visit his friends. I could never go inside with him and so I was left outside waiting for him to remember that we were supposed to be walking home together. As we continued to walk home a little girl suddenly appeared behind me and grabbed my hand as we continued through the neighborhood. I felt the need to protect this little girl and so I held onto her hand to make sure she didn’t fall behind.
As the sun went down my dad started to walk faster and further away from us. We could hardly keep up with him and eventually lost sight of him altogether. As we approached an intersection it suddenly became night and my dad and the little girl was nowhere to be found. I quickly got onto a roof of an abandoned house to get a better look of where they might be. There was no sign of my father but the little girl showed up in the window right below the spot where I was sitting on the roof. She waved at me to let me know she was safe. I went down to get her, grabbed her hand, and continued to walk through the neighborhood.
Then suddenly a group of gang members in white clothing appeared and started killing people in black clothing with guns and knives. Dead bodies were laying everywhere. The little girl ran ahead while I laid on the ground pretending to be dead. One of the gang members stood over me to check to see if I was dead and then moved on. They then ran down a dark street and disappeared. Although I was frightened too death I believed they were actually there to protect me from the dark forces that I didn’t know were about to surround me.
I got up and ran quickly to catch up with the little girl who I found standing at the entrance of a movie theater. When I approached the entrance to the theater I saw Jesus greeting people at the door. The light from the movie screen inside shined so brightly through the doorway that it hid his face. I was in awe of him. He ushered us in the theater to find a seat. Walking down the aisle I saw my dad sitting down enjoying the show as if he didn’t leave us behind in the dark just moments ago. I wondered how or even why he was there. I decided to leave it alone and put my focus on the little girl who found in rows in front of him. She needed my protection. The little girl smiled at me and I smiled back. She and I were finally safe.
My dad is a good person. He just wasn’t a good dad. He was selfish and often irresponsible as a parent. Although I’ve never had any severe daddy issues because my mother was a strong and protective parent, it still took a toll on my life. Mothers are strong and nurturing and loving but there is something about a little girl having her father around. He’s the other half of the puzzle. We learn how to be a woman from our mothers but we feel protected by our dads. We feel special and beautiful. If he’s a good man then he sets the archetype of how we are supposed to be treated and respected by other men.
Growing up there was always a void, an absence of a father figure that I always needed. I needed my father to protect me. I needed my father to tell me that although I wore glasses and braces and was picked on everyday at school, I was still beautiful in his eyes. I needed him to teach me sports. He just could never be the father that I wanted him to be. So one day, around 2011, I decided I was finally done with my dad’s selfishness and didn’t talk to him for six years.
In that span of time I’d lost a lot of friendships, family members had passed away, and I went through many spiritual growing pains. Through those growing pains I realized that you only get one dad(biological or otherwise) and you only get one mom. And although they may or may not have been great parents it is our obligation by God to forgive them and take care of them when they are old. Life is too short.
The road to forgiveness is a long one. It isn’t easy. I held on tightly to that resentment and disappointment until it consumed me. I had to let it go. When I finally released that bitterness and disappointment a heavy burden lifted off of my shoulder. Even though my dad hasn’t changed (he’s just gotten older), I decided that I would revive our relationship anyway. I was over the pain and disappointment. I survived without the full support of my father and I came out a better woman. The burden had been lifted.
Looking back at this dream that I had in 2004 I now realized two things; One, that little girl that I was protecting was me and two, that Jesus loves me but he also loves my dad. In the end everyone who believes in him is welcome into his movie theater, flaws and all. We must learn to forgive as Jesus did for us and be free.