Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Three weeks ago, in the first conversation we ever had she – I’ll call her “Winnie” – screamed at me in public.
I had confronted her boyfriend for breaking the TreeHouse P.D.A. (public display of affection) rules. He didn’t deny it and never complained about how I addressed him.
Winnie, on the other hand, screamed at me in full view of everyone: “That’s so unfair. You’re just like my father. I want to ******* kill you!!!” Mustering up some more venom, she added, “I’d like to tear your ******* head off!!!”
I, in a moment of grace-filled restraint – I saw past her outburst, addressed it as an impersonal attack and replied, “I know I was being fair. He’s one of our leaders and I expect him to act like one. You’re brand new. I don’t think it’s fair to expect you to respect our rules as much as I expect him to.”
She sunk into silent simmer. I let her outburst pass for now. I spent some time alone, trembling with my thoughts. My natural inclination for revenge and retaliation was abated as I prayed. Later I addressed her and asked if we could talk: “I’d like to listen to what you have to say.”
She had calmed down and we walked a few feet away from the crowd. We sat down and I asked her if she had anything else to say.
For the next fifteen minutes I heard how her dad – her childhood hero – had let her down. He had left her family, kicked out on their twentieth wedding anniversary after another angry violent abusive encounter.
The tale of a hero-worshiping teen girl whose dad became the villain is a tragic story I’ve heard a thousand times in the last twenty years.
It’s a familiar story. In the last month or so I heard from three young women with similar stories:
“My dad chose drugs instead of me.”
“My dad would rather beat me than admit he was wrong.”
“My dad would tell my mom he loved her, then disappear for weeks at a time. Live with another woman. Come back home. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. Make peace. And, after a short time he’d disappear again. This happened over and over, for years. And, my mom would keep taking him back!”
After listening to Winnie for ten minutes. I felt so sad for her, for her mom, for her sister and for her dad.
It reminded me of a great song by John Mayer called Daughters
“I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me”
I’ve been told by the women and girls in my life that being female is complicated. That complication level goes through the ceiling when they have a gaping wound in their heart deepened by a “daddy-wound”.?
“Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made”
Far too often fathers filled with their own pain and hurt lash out unthinkingly on their loved ones.
Whatever was said the echos in their hearts sound like:
“It’s all your fault!”
“I hate you!”
“You were a mistake and you’ve always been one!”
“I ****** wish you’d never been born!”
“I wish you were dead!”
“Can you do us all a favor and kill yourself!”
Words that can never be taken back. Thoughtlessly spoken. Like a battle axe they cleave within a tender woman’s heart.
Too few guys realize how precious the girls and women in their lives are. John continues:
“Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong?And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A woman’s good, good heart”
And all John’s fans and my female readers cheered and shouted “Amen!”
“So fathers, be good to your daughters?
Daughters will love like you do?
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers?
So mothers, be good to your daughters too”
Words should be spoken with care. Words can never be taken back.