With the obvious absence of my own father, I have lived a fairly normal life. I have mourned the fact that he has made it known that he does not accept me as his daughter. Probably overcompensating in my efforts to keep my own little family together no matter hard life between me and my husband is. I have committed myself to staying together until our children are grown and out of the house. I want them to feel that no matter what they have parents who love them unconditionally. We do all of the normal family things, shuttle kids to an from activities, attend their games, meet all of their friends, work hard and go to church all in a kind of mind numbing monotony. As both my husband and I are cradle catholics, there was no issues with deciding which religion we would bring our children up as. We absent-mindedly took them to church each week, attending the churches days of obligation without feeling. My life took on a feeling that I was missing something big.
I would push the feelings of self pity about my hard childhood and lack of a father to the back of my self conscious, telling myself I was lucky to have a great family and a very loving mother. I began volunteering with my churches youth group, telling myself and others it was a great way to spend additional time with my now teenage daughter. I soon found myself still searching for that unnamed thing that was missing from my life. It was not until a close friend asked me to sponsor her conversion into our church that I realized that although, outwardly I did everything that I was supposed to, I still needed something. I did not have the relationship with God that a good catholic should.
During her conversion process, I have attended all of my friends classes even attending a couple of retreats designed to excite the new candidates. It was on one of these retreats that I was given the opportunity to hear Father Paul Coutinho the author of How Big is Your God, speak. My mind exploded listening to him speak. He invited us to identify our demons as well as the thing that makes us special. He even went so far as to let us in on his own feeling of fear of being alone without anyone. Listening to him I tried to think of what my main demon was, thinking I have so many it will be impossible to pinpoint that one that is the big bang, "demon" that has made my life spiral into what was becoming a black hole. His gentle, humorous speech, touched with catholic as well as Indian philosophy, invited us to ask God into our lives. He validated all of my questions about my relationship with God. As we left that day I shook his hand and thanked him for touching our lives.
In the day's after the retreat I tried to figure out what my demons were as well as my validating qualities. I was not until a few day's later feeling very down and very alone with financial issues, feelings of overwhelming inadiquacy, and even a touch of depression, I felt an overwhelming feeling of calmness and clarity. Not seeing the face of God, but hearing the voice of God, I heard, " I am your Father". With these words, I have the feeling that I am not alone, I have never been without a Father, I just have not invited Him into my life as my Father. In the following day's, all of my dark feelings about my human father have disappeared. I am overwhelmed with a sense of love from God the Father, my Father.