Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Have I done Everything?

Remember the movie "Rudy"? Sure you do. Remember the scene where Rudy has endured three semesters of Junior College, overcome a learning disability, slept in a store room, and worked three jobs just to stay there, and he still has been turned down for Notre Dame? He sits in the church sanctuary waiting for Father Cavanaugh. When the Father comes walking up the aisle with some other priests, he sees a despondent Rudy and stops to talk to him. After a few moments of conversation, Rudy asks Father Cavanaugh "Have I prayed enough?" To which Father Cavanaugh smilingly replies "I'm sure that's not the problem." Then Rudy desperately asks him "Have I done everything I could do?".  Father Cavanaugh's response, as I recall, was "I think that's a question only you can answer."
As a post-divorce dad I ask myself the same things constantly. "Have I prayed enough for my daughter? Have I poured out my heart to God on her behalf with the frequency, earnestness, sincerity, and desperation of a loving daddy who can't always be there to protect, defend, encourage, train, and love?" I know the answer is yes but I still struggle. I still wrestle in the days between visits and between interactions. I rely on the phone and the email and text to fill in the blank spots in my heart. It's seldom enough.
Almost daily I am introspective and ask myself  "Is there anything else I can do?" I suppose if Father Cavanaugh were here, his response would be the same..."Only you can answer that question."
I know there is little I can do beyond what I have done. But that is the problem.  I'm a dad. All the time. I shouldn't have to meter out my fatherhood in bits and pieces and moments. There is no natural ebb and flow to my time with my daughter. It is staccato, like a machine gun. Big bursts, followed by long silence. This is unnatural and painful. I am a "Full-Time Daddy in a Part-time world" and it hurts.
But I have done all I can and then some. So I rely on the One who loves my daughter even more than I do. When I miss her, long for her company, worry about her, or spend a little longer thinking about how it once was...I take comfort in prayer. I package up my hurts and the emptiness that I feel in between days with her and I drop them at the feet of the only One who loves her more.
After 13 years I have learned that He is always on the job and He truly wants what is best for her.
Dad's...ask yourself those two urgent questions; "Have I prayed enough?" and "Have I done everything I can do?" Answer them honestly, fix what needs fixing, and then trust that God will honor your heart and watch over your kids.
Your friend,

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