Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Letter

The other day I was cleaning out the boxes in my office closet that had been with me since I was 15 years old. Years of moving, transferred from house to house and box to box. I had over a decade worth of letters and cards that had chronicled my life through the eyes of those around me. As I sifted through and tossed the generic "Happy Birthday! Love, Aunt Sue" cards into the trash I came across an open envelope. 

It had unfamiliar writing all over it and it wasn't a letter I had remembered even owning let alone reading. It was from my dad and it was addressed from jail, dated in 1991... I was 6 years old.  There was this moment as I opened the letter where everything else went blank. Almost as if I forgot what I had been doing up until that second. The wind had left my lungs and I felt that clenching in my chest. I slowly sat down on the floor and began reading the words on the pages. The apologies and the desperate pleas to not be afraid. The six places he told me I love you and the three where he said not be afraid. I counted each one... soaking it in just as desperately as he had written the words.  The few memories I had were all there... even the swans he had taught me to draw as a little girl. 
 There I was.... just a few days before my 29th birthday as I sat on the floor of my office, sobbing over the words. Tear drops staining the page, blurring the ink into incomprehensible puddles. The questions that had always been in the deepest parts of my being were right there in a box, on a shelf... in my office... all along. Did my dad love me... or more poignantly 

Am I lovable?

Most of my life has been lived with the desperate desire to be captivating, pursued and longed for. A hope that one day the void of not having my father's love would be filled. The wound of being abandoned somehow healed over. It never ceases to amaze me just how much that father wound has managed to impact every part of my identity. Just when I think I have overcome the breath of it... there it is. I know I have come so far and I know I am not alone in this struggle. It doesn't take a broken home to struggle with issues of worth but a broken home and an abusive father only magnifies the hurt. 

“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.” 
― Stasi EldredgeCaptivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

So today, I am reflecting on that desire, that hurt, that loss, that wound. I am praying that somehow it will heal enough to not sting so much. I am praying for the strength to believe in my own worth... and I mourn the ways in which I have not loved myself enough. 

And maybe along the way... in sharing the journey... others can be healed too. 


  1. <3 Sending you love and hugs. xoxoxo

  2. This is really beautiful. My mother passed away a few years ago, and though I gather that your father's absence came much sooner, I do know the pain of sobbing over the absence of a parent. It's a pain like no other. And now I've had a good cry too.