Currently, our church is doing a series on heroes and villains, and how they're "made." We all got shirts with either a big H for Hero or V for Villain on them. I chose the V. Many people ask, "WHY?" :) I don't know. Maybe it's like my scarlet letter :) I know myself too well to think of myself as a hero. On any given day I feel WAY more villainous. Thankfully, I know my God loves me no matter who I am or what I've done.
This past weekend was the anniversary of my father's death. It's been 8 years since he left us. Although my relationship with my father was not exactly easy, through all the good and bad, I never stopped loving him. I know he felt the same for my brother and me; although sometimes he just didn't know how to show it. My dad battled some mental health issues. It took me a while to accept that. I've learned that I don't have to understand everything, but just to accept and remember that God is in control, working ALL things to the good of those that love Him. Even my dad. Even my relationship with my dad. Even his death. Somehow. I just have to trust.
Everyone remembers Sept 11, 2001. On that afternoon, I spoke to my dad on the phone. Well, actually, there wasn't much speaking involved. He called upset. Not about the thousands of people who had just been killed, but about his life. He was in the middle of his third divorce and I felt like he was trying to manipulate me into feeling guilty. I never react well to that, and that day was no exception. I lit into him. I was angry. Angry at all the grief he had caused me growing up, angry at all the hurt he'd caused my mother, angry at the pain he'd caused for my little brother and sister. I was NOT AT ALL interested in a pity party for him. And I told him.
I never spoke to him again. The next night, September 12, 2001, he went into his garage, turned on his truck, crawled to the back of it, and propped himself up right next to the tail pipe. He wanted to go fast. I cannot imagine the pain he must have felt. It physically hurts me to think about it. Maybe if I would have been more understanding and less judgemental. Maybe.
Since my father's death, I've been able to go back and remember some of the good times. When we was alive, our relationship was so volatile, that was hard to do. My anger toward him is melting. Instead of focusing on all the bad, I'm remembering the good. He instilled in me two loves that are still a big part of my life today. Basketball and music.
My dad taught me how to post up, drive to the basket and "forced" me to shoot an sick jump shot. He also LOVED music. He was talented, too. Had a voice like James Ingram. I loved to hear him sing. When we were younger, he used to sing in a gospel group that traveled around the area performing at different churches and events. One of my favorite songs to listen to him sing was "And Because He Lives." I just wish he would have remembered the words to that song that night in September.
"And because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
And because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives."
I'm sorry, Dad. I'm sorry you felt such pain. I Love you. You'd be SO proud of your grandson, Kedric. He's a musician like you. And I promise, instead of condemning, I will always try to listen to the pain in others' voices from now on. I will instill hope in those around me. Instead of pointing out their pitfalls and faults, I will point them to Christ who will cover and fill them all.
Are you a hero or a villain? Check out amiahero.com Or go to http://www.flamingoroadchurch.com/teachings and listen to a great message on how to take the tragedies in our lives and use them to find our purpose.