Yesterday I did the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my whole entire life. Now to understand the enormity of the situation you need to know a bit more about me. So I am gonna be sharing part of my life story with you all.
My name is Hadlay and I am 25 years old. I was born and bred in Cape Town, though I have traveled to other parts of South Africa before I never really lived anywhere else. My parents divorced when I was two years old. I lived with my mom and my dad was never a really big part of my life. Now I never really felt that I was missing out on any special relationship with my dad because I could barely remember the first two years of my life. Who does anyway?
My father would occasionally visit on birthdays, so I grew up knowing who my father was but never really building a relationship with him. Eventually the birthday visits stopped happening, I think I was about five years old when I got my last birthday visit. After that I’d only see my father on rare occasions when we happened to bump into each other. You know when you see someone in the mall that looks familiar but you just can’t put your finger on where you know them from? That’s the feeling I’d get when I see him. We would greet and chat for a bit and then go our separate ways. He was a part of my life but he wasn’t in my life, if you know what I mean.
I’d be lying if I said that I never dreamed of having a relationship with my dad. And I was always hopeful until one night in high school when I asked him to help me with something and it seemed like I was just being the biggest inconvenience. Feelings of rejection always haunted me. There’s something to be said about the rejection of a child by its parent. I wouldn’t even wish such pain on my biggest enemy. No one deserves to ever feel that way. Yet here I was, feeling rejected, unwanted, unloved and like a waste of space. I really had to dig deep to pull myself towards myself and see my true worth. No I was not gonna allow a man who doesn’t even know me, to make me feel this way. I have a mother that loves me dearly and who sacrificed so much to raise me. I promised myself to work extra hard at everything I do and to never ask anything from anyone. If I wanted to succeed in life I was to do the hard work all by myself. And I refused to let anyone ever make me feel that way again. (Is RHCP Under the Bridge in your head too now?)
Fast forward to 2013. By now I’ve graduated, I’m following my passion and I’m doing what I love. I am saved and I try my best to live according to the laws of the Bible. It is admittedly not the easiest thing to do, because when Jesus says love your neighbor he includes the people who do you wrong. Loving your enemy is no small feat, know what I mean? God is big on family and asks of us to honour our parents. At this point I thought I had made peace with the lack of relationship I have with my dad, but I learned that there is a huge difference between acknowledging your father and honouring him. I really want to honour my dad, because despite it all, he was still my dad. I know that I can learn lots from him and if not why not right? So yesterday I decided to face my fears and send my dad a message asking him if he is willing to build a relationship with me. IT WAS TERRIFYING! It took me about 2 hours to type the message and another hour to actually send it. Immediately after that I went into a panic attack. I freaked out. I didn’t know if I was ready for the answer. What if he said yes? What would I do? Where would I start? But more importantly… What if his answer wasn’t in favour? How would I deal with that? What would it mean? I messaged some friends for support but every time I heard my message notifications I’d go into a fit. Alone in my darkened room, shaking under my blankets I thought I was gonna die of anticipation. Eventually I decided to do the one thing I knew that I was supposed to do all along. I prayed. It was while praying that I was reminded of all the good in my life. The blessings certainly outweighed the pain I was feeling at that moment. God doesn’t want us to suffer, he doesn’t promise that we won’t suffer either but he does promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. Last night I chose to believe that promise. I chose to believe that a painful experience such as this could still be used for my good.
A day has passed and I still haven’t gotten a response from my father. I’m a little disappointed but I live in hope. I sent that message and I opened that door. I am not gonna be upset, I am not gonna give up hope and I am not gonna stop laughing and being full of joy. It is sad that there are kids all over the world who have to go through this. There are others who will never have the opportunity to even message their parents. I just want those who have both parents alive today to appreciate and honour their parents. I have never made my dad a cup of tea. I would drop everything just to make my dad a cup of tea. Parents don’t ever allow your kids to feel this way. Let them know how special they are. Let them know that they are loved. I am grateful for the way my mother raised me because things could have been so much different for me.
**Edit: I originally wrote this on Monday evening. I battled with the idea of posting it but after sleeping on it I built up the courage to make it public. I still haven’t gotten a response from my dad but I live in hope. I am not mad or angry. I am actually in a really good place right now. I know that one day he will come around, and when he is ready I will be here waiting.