Father Figure

I had heard this said before…

In the eyes of a child, a parent is god.” 

As a child you expect your parents to protect and love you. You trust and love them unconditionally. Then one of them fails you and it sends you crashing from the sky, in chicken little fashion.

It recently dawned on me why I struggled with my relationship with my higher power. I realized that I saw my father as God. I was filled with mistrust with anyone who resembled a father figure. My own father burned me so frequently that I ran as fast and far away from anything remotely close to a father. When all that you are surrounded by is a negative image, you begin to believe that is all there is.

About a year ago, my father apologized for how he pushed his religion on me. Those were words that I had dreamed of but sadly they didn’t make me feel any better. They certainly didn’t take away the pain or give me the relationship I so desperately needed/wanted with my dad. It was too little, too late.

My father painted this picture of God, as one who was someone to fear. Someone who judged. I pictured the entrance into heaven on a tight rope. Just a small misstep would result in burning in hell forever. God became something very scary. So much so that I would have panic attacks whenever I heard God, Jesus or anything to do with religion.

I will be honest in admitting that I haven’t had too many positive male figures in my life. My dating life certainly has mirrored that. Each relationship that crashed and burned was a frigid reminder of my relationship with my dad. Each hurt reinforced the first hurt by my father.

Men have only hurt me. I think that is why I can’t see God as a gender, at least a man. Man has not loved me the way I deserve to be, which equaled to me not being lovable. Which I now realize is false. I am lovable and worthy. The people in my life who have hurt me were the ones flawed. It had nothing to do with me. NOTHING!!!

I let my father take away my relationship with my higher power, resulting in my turning my back on my spirituality. I have learned without my spirituality I can’t thrive. It is like a flower without rain or sunshine.

I guess in a way I have felt abandoned my God, ever since I was in eighth grade. That was the last time I was close to my higher power. God was just another male figure that had done me wrong. I wondered why God would let my father come back into our home.

Now that I am an adult, I can see that humans are flawed. I see that I am my own person and can come up with my own feelings and belief systems. Another person’s definition of something does not always equal my own.

I realize now that God didn’t abandon me. My father did. My higher power has always been there, deep within.

I guess in a way I was brainwashed my father. He never once taught me that God was love, just the opposite. My father certainly didn’t show it with his behavior, actions or personality.

I believed that God and Father were one in the same. I couldn’t separate the two.

I now believe differently. For me, God is love. God is both male and female. I believe its important to find what works for you. Don’t let someone else definition control you. There is always an alternative.

God means different things, to many different people. I still struggle with using the term God because I still have remnants of the the abuse in me. When I started to heal, from all the abuse, I started to visualize God as Mother Nature. I still do… Someone who was nurturing, loving and support… Filled full of life.

Then there was a time I associated God with a lilac bush. This caused some panic with some of my christian so called friends. They though I actually believed God was a lilac bush. It wasn’t like I was worshiping a tree. It is what that lilac bush represented. Something strong, rooted deep within the earth.

Growing up we had this lilac bush. It was gigantic. I loved that lilac bush with all my heart. In the spring time you could smell the wonderful fragrance inside our family home. My father didn’t have the same regard for the lilac bush as me. One day he set afire the corn crib that was next to it, almost burning down our house. The flames were so strong that you could feel the heat inside the house. It even bubbled the paint on the siding.

After the flames disappeared, all that was left of the lilac bush was a burnt out skeleton shell. (Very much like what my father did to me) I was devastated and my father didn’t seem to care. I thought that he had destroyed the lilac bush… What I didn’t realize that the earth was protecting the lilac bushes soul. That my father only cut the surface, he couldn’t touch the roots deep inside the earth.

All that summer, I was reminded of the total disregard my father had for anything filled full of life and love. All I could see was the blackness. The next spring I was surprised to see that a few of the branches in the back were sprouting life. I nursed the lilac bush back to life and protected it from my father.

Many years later, the lilac bush not only was full of life but at least four times the size it was before the fire. Life sprouted up all around the ruins and was a reminded that life will always conquer death.

The lilac bush represented me. I am the lilac bush and it is me. It is a reminder that nothing can cut me to the core. Sure others can cut my skin but those wounds will always heal. Nothing can get to my roots because they are protected by the earth.

If you are struggling with your spirituality, it is okay to find a healthy alternative to stand as a symbol of what you believe in.

For me, God isn’t outside force… It is deep within. My God isn’t the same God that many have, and that is okay. There are many different paths to take… That is the one thing I have never understood about various religions. Especially the ones that ostracize other forms of religion. If God was this great and all mighty being why would he/she use just one way to get to him/her? I always wondered about my Native American ancestors, they believed in something very different than the christian faith. Does that mean they all went to hell??? No, I don’t believe that to be true.

With the diverse world we live in, God would create many different paths to him/her.

You don’t have to go to church or read the bible to have the essence of God in your heart. Nor do you have to do these things to get into heaven.

Being the best person you can be and following your life full of love, is what God is all about. It has taken all this time for me to realize that God was always within me. I just listen to and believed all the false things that people told me. I can’t let other peoples fears and insecurities guide or control me.

I also need to let go of any hopes that my father will come around. He will never love me the way I need him to. It is funny all these years I have still held onto the hope my father will change. That he will come running to me and love me.

“I got away from you, I never thought I would…”

My father’s inability to love, will no longer stand in my way. It will also no longer define me or my higher power.

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