I was 17 years old and I had blown it…..big time. Desperate to be “free” from parental rule and sew some wild oats, I had finally been caught…on my third attempt….staying out all night joyriding with my girlfriends. To say my mother was livid is an understatement, and rightfully so. As a mother myself now, I shudder to think about the amount of long-lasting trouble that could have befallen us.
Alone in my dark bedroom after hours of interrogation to uncover the truth, my eyes were swollen from crying and my spirit ached with guilt and worthlessness. What an idiot decision I had made. How stupid could I be? How do I escape this feeling, this place, this life? As I plotted my escape plan, my stepdad knocked on my door. He didn’t turn on a light or make a big fuss as he sat down on the edge of my bed. In a quiet gentle voice he told me that while he was disappointed in my behavior, he wanted to make sure before “one of my worst days” was over that I knew that I was loved…..no matter what. Nothing could change that, ever.
I think I sat in silence. I may have mumbled a, “Thanks.” The lump of guilt sat in my throat because I had disappointed the one that I always wanted to make proud. I don’t know if he realizes though, that moment has always meant the world to me. He had always been someone ready to admit his mistakes. “I’m sorry,” were never words he choked on. Now I could also point to an example of when he had done nothing wrong but still wanted to make sure the offender felt love and grace. I fell asleep lighter, knowing that tomorrow would work itself out. Indeed, it is the small moments that make the lasting memories in relationships and sometimes, the grace makes all the difference.
I hope you know your lessons still sit with me, Daddy. I love you and Happy Fathers Day!