It's October 14. I've noticed the readership has grown a little since the end of summer. It happens that way every year. I think sometimes it's the impending Holidays and the knowledge that we'll be so limited in seeing our kids...if we see them at all.
I remember it well, men. My daughter has lived with me since May. We moved to Virginia and I took a job with my alma mater and her mom saw the wisdom in letting her come with me. It was literally a matter of survival for her. But I remember too well the 14 years before this. The endless pain of Thursday morning after she'd been with me for Wednesday afternoon. The way every-other Monday felt after we had a weekend together. I remember thinking more about the time I'd missed than the time I had with her because it was so tilted in one direction. Once a week for a few hours and every other weekend. That was supposed to be a decent substitute for the fatherhood I was missing and the hole in my heart it left every single day.
But she's with me now. She's sixteen and I have about a year and a half to squeeze as much as I can from everyday fatherhood before she leaves again to go to college. She plans on going here so she'll be in town at least, but it won't be the same. She'll live on campus and be her own person, as she already is, to be honest. So I have about 18 months. This past Saturday morning I made her strawberry pancakes for the first time in six years. It was a tradition we had when she was little and we kept running until 2008 when I lost my home. It's nice to do it again, but it made me think about the six years we lost. It made me think about the 8 years before that, when I had a nice home and a good job and pretty much anything I wanted except the time I wanted with my daughter.
Divorce is cruel. It's evil. It's vicious and it's repulsive and devastating to all the people involved. Even the party who wanted it and who believes themselves happier now...their soul was damaged too. They just don't know it yet. The bitterness will steal a part of their soul eventually. It always does.
It's hard being a dad who loves his kids and who walks through this life with a giant hole in his heart where they are supposed to be. I can tell you without question that I could not have made it without my Faith. Jesus did not make my pain go away. He walked with me through the worst of it and he felt it along with me. That's what He does. he gave me enough strength to live just one more day after the devastation of my divorce. And one more day after that...and one after that.
I don;t have a story of roses and honey and happiness all the time. I have a story of tears, and hurt, and longing. But I also have a story of making it through this barren wasteland and living again.
That is what Faith does.
I encourage you men to reach out to the only One who can really help you feel again. You may hate Him right now...to be honest, I did for a long time. He's okay with that. Take your pain to Him and let him deal with it.
Becoming His son is the best way to endure as a father.
God bless you men for continuing to love your kids as you do. Do not quit. Ever.