If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daddy! Daddy!

Some of you may be able to identify with my past. You were rejected by your dad. Or mom. Or maybe even both. I hope what I have written here will help you deal in your own way with the great love of God for us, despite the rejection we may have experienced as children.

. . . but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15)

1962. I was 12. I watched with my younger sister and a few adults as the justice of the peace married my mom and Tommy. They’d dated for several years after my first father deserted us. Now, at last, I’d have a father like all of my friends. I’d have someone to call ‘Dad.’

As the Justice finished the ceremony with the words, “I now pronounce you man and wife,” all of my pent-up and long-awaited excitement was about to explode. I bolted toward him and shouted, “Hi, Dad!”

I tried to leap into his arms. But he didn’t let me get that far. As I leapt toward him he held out his arms and kept me at arm’s length. He laughed nervously and said something about my being too heavy. I remember his face. I knew, even at 12, he didn’t know what to do with me or with the moment.

I didn’t know what to do either. I so wanted to call him “Dad” – to at last have a father. Yet he held me at arm’s length. Nervous. Hesitant. Unsure what to do next.

That was fifty years ago. I’m sure I will never forget it.

During the last decade, perhaps longer, that memory has returned with some regularity. I’ve thought of it often during my prayer time as I watch another scene unfold – this one in my imagination. I see myself led by my guardian angel through an enormous splintered wood door that opens from this life into the next. He takes my hand and we move toward a light, a light so bright I am surprised each time I see it that it doesn’t hurt my eyes.

I know intuitively where he’s taking me. In a few moments I see the border of a throne materialize within the light. Moving closer, I see the One who sits on that throne. And with pent-up and long-awaited excitement about to explode inside me, I drop the angel’s hand and race toward the Light, my arms outstretched. And I hear myself shout again and again, and yet again, “Daddy! Daddy!”


What happens next happens each time I visit that scene. My heavenly Father leans forward, bends low, and swoops me into His arms. And He hugs me so close I can hear His heart beat. I feel His warmth. His strength. His embrace.

And I hear Him whisper in my ear, “Welcome home, Richard. Welcome home.”

Oh! How I long for that day when what is now only imagination will be forever palpable love.


Kathleen Basi said...

A beautiful reflection. Thanks for sharing. My heart hurts for you as a boy.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thank you, Kathleen.