“I feel so betrayed.”
Ironic and painful words to hear from the mouth of the one who left his family for a new chosen “other.”
His refusal to engage in even one honest conversation about the massive elephant sucking the air out of the room was met by my refusal to simply engage in surface-level banter — our relationship warranted more than that. While processing through my own feelings of betrayal, I couldn’t even wrap my brain around him uttering that word.
What he couldn’t see — what he still refuses to acknowledge — is that what he calls “betrayal” is me being the woman he raised me to be.
He raised me to be brave and independent and loyal and even quite a bit stubborn.
I desire truth, openness, authenticity, and trustworthiness because he taught me to value those qualities.
Following his lead, I stand my ground, I use my voice for what I believe, I fight for justice and mercy, and I love fiercely—through the hurt and the hard.
I’m tenacious, loyal, persistent, and strong-willed because he modeled what it means to stand up after falling—bruises, scraped knees, bankruptcies, lost homes, failed ministries, and all.
He taught me to dream big; to start something from nothing, and believe it can become something amazing; to try again and again and again and again.
He raised me to be generous with second chances, liberal with apologies and forgiveness, abundant in humility, and rich in grace (even for myself).
He raised me to cry and laugh and, yes, even scream—to not be afraid of my emotions.
He raised me to be unashamedly me.
And now the me that I am is what he calls a betrayal.
Too much need for truth. Too many questions. I’m simply too much for him right now.
So the one man who has always been in this only-daughter’s corner effortlessly walked away. I’ve reminded him that regardless of my age or my season of life, I still need my dad, but it hasn’t made a difference. I’m more work than he feels it’s worth right now. More work than he feels I’m worth right now…
I’m too much and not enough all at the same time.
So, for the first time in my life, Father’s Day came and went without a gift, or a card, or a phone call. And I felt like I was simultaneously being true to myself and betraying myself, in equal measure—which is an awful feeling actually.
I sit here, fighting to wake up as I relive my nightmare. I sit here, fighting to not lose hope in the entire male population—or in all humanity for that matter. I sit here, fighting to keep my heart open, to be brave with trust, to risk and risk again.
All the while hearing his voice saying that he’s the one who’s been betrayed.