Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No Longer Orphan

Twelve years. 

Today marks twelve years since my father died. And recollection of the cold fact still brings fresh and quick tears to the surface. Not because I can't let go of one distant day's unpleasant events, but because the day-- Feb. 10-- is metonymic for the four previous years I watched him and my family be crushed under the weight of cancer, and for the four subsequent years I struggled to survive in the aftermath. The day reminds me of the narrative that has shaped my life. 

And yet, today also marks the realization that though this painful story-- of cancer, death, and fatherlnesness-- has shaped my life, it no longer defines me. I'm no longer trapped in the lie that because my father was sick or is dead, I am hopeless, a "troubled child," an orphan. I'm no longer stuck in the ambivalence that comes from being unable to connect to a God who calls Himself "Father," or from somehow believing that even if I let Him in, He'll leave me too. 

I still wrestle with these things, and will continue to peel back the layers of healing as life goes on-- I will never graduate from healing school. And yet I'm learning to celebrate the fact that healing and the Source of it far outshine the scars.

Hear me, this doesn't mean the pain of loss isn't real, present, or valid. It just means it no longer has the power to tell me who I am, who God is, or what my future will be. It colors my life, but it doesn't control it. 

And so today, at the twelve year mark of my father's passing, I honor his life by grieving the loss of it. But I also rejoice with him that death-- even the death of a precious father-- doesn't get the final say.

What narratives have shaped your life? What do you think of the idea of God healing-- and reinterpreting-- your story moving forward?


Elizabeth Pearson (Tucker) said...

Wow, thank you for sharing such a powerful message.

Anonymous said...

I celebrate with you Hannah. It's wonderful to think about what the next 12 years in healing school will bring. Thank you for the part you've played in my healing narrative. Mom