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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Daddy's Little Girl

I originally wrote this post on November 22, 2006, but it's one of my favorite posts, one that speaks a lot of truth and I think, if I were to write my memoirs, one that would weave a theme throughout my life. And so I post it again, in honor of my Dad on Father's Day. May he rest in peace.

Tonight I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when suddenly I missed my Dad, 11 years in his grave. I wanted to tell him about Grad school, and all the possibilities. I knew that if he were still alive, he'd immediately be bragging to his friends about his little girl, all grown up and what she's doing. I knew that he'd be proud of me, supportive of me...and that even though I'm "all grown up", I'm still Daddy's little girl. Because that's the way it is.

There is a very special bond between fathers and daughters, and God designed it that way.

When I was a little girl, I used to follow my daddy everywhere. I didn't care what he was doing...I wanted to be with him and I wanted to be like him. When we went to visit his parents in Michigan, we'd go out to the pier and go fishing, and this was our very special time together.

I remember how daddy used to bait the hook for me for a twofold reason; I did not like to touch the worms, an issue that faded with time, and secondly, more importantly, he did not want me to poke myself with a hook. So he carefully baited my hooks, explained the "sinkers", how to handle the line, what to do with the reel...and how to be patient and WAIT for the fish to bite.

We passed hours that way. It was our special time. I'll never forget the smell of Lake Michigan, the breeze constantly blowing across the empty pier, the cement canals, the metal, oval-shaped moorings which never seemed to have anything to anchor. Seagulls soared overhead, piercing the air both with their wings and ther squeals, puncturing the low clouds which were forever present in the northland along the lakeshore. I'll never forget the fish we caught, or more importantly, the time we spent together. They are treasured moments. They are from a time in history when I was "daddy's little girl", from when daddy taught his little girl how to fish. I know for a fact that my dad treasured those moments perhaps even more than I.

I miss you, Dad.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a Dad, to be able to call him with my successes and failures, to either relish or put up with or reject his advice. I listen with longing to my friends as they discuss their parents, both living, and while I share in their joys, I have to admit that I still feel a twinge of jealousy, or envy, or even sadness for what I don't have. I do not begrudge their moments; rather I wish I could merely identify.

In talking with a friend tonight, though, a big realization hit me; I am not so fatherless as I thought.

We were talking about God, and evangelization, about teaching others the Truth, and I commented that God doesn't need us; rather, he allows us to participate. My friend talked about his own father allowing him to "help" do different things, and in looking back he's realized he was likely more of a pain and a hinderance than anything, and yet his dad encouraged him, gave him tools, and let him "help" things on their way. His dad loved him so much that it didn't matter if he messed things up because Dad could always put things back alright and he knew that as his son grew, so would his skills, his knowledge, and his abilities. And even if he proved to be inept, it didn't matter because he was his son.

It struck me, right around that moment, that even though my earthly father is no longer here, I am still a daughter of God, and he has a true presence in my life. God was there as I rebelled, had my spiritual tantrums, and had later conversations as I began to learn the language of prayer. When I go to Adoration, I am sitting with my Father in Heaven, mimicing the time spent with my earthly father while we waited for fish to bite. During those times, Dad and I would discuss a great number of things, just as, in prayer, Jesus and I discuss a great number of things.

I would not be so presumptive to think that Jesus has been proud of me; rather, I tend to think I offend him and cause him grief more often than not for I am only a spiritual toddler (and even THAT might be too advanced for me!). Yet just because I can't walk a few steps without falling on my face doesn't mean that God is less present...rather, he sees my vulnerabilities and is likely more solicitous, more patient and ready to pick me up, brush me off, and send me on my way.

I've come to realize that in those times where I have been standing in front of an RCIA class, those were "Father-Daughter" moments. I know that God stood there with me, beaming, happy to see his rebellious daughter finally taking up the family inheritance and sharing the wealth. It is a parallel to, perhaps, my first fish. Right now, I'm only fishing off the pier of my home parish...and maybe someday, God will lead me to a boat and we'll go together out to deeper waters and he'll teach me how to drop anchor and fish for the big ones.

It hit me tonight that God is really there as a Father to us all; and as a father beams when his little girl begins to find her voice, so does God stand back, beaming, when we begin to take on the mission he has set us upon. He does not abandon us, but stands there, smiling, his hand ready to catch us because we are only children and thus it is inevitable that we will fall. We will cry, and we will go running to Him to make it all better.

I understood tonight, that as I post on this blog, each post is really me just dropping my hook into the proverbial waters of cyberspace. But my bait is only those nuggets of truth dating back centuries and millenia. God is carefully baiting each hook and handing it to me to drop into the waters, waiting for the next fish to come along. So as I write, God is here beside me, letting me be, whether I am overeager, nonchalant, or even completely oblivious. And funny thing.....even if my attention wanders from the task and I miss a "nibble", God is always there, like a good father, to take up the slack and bring the catch to the light. And like a good father, he always lets me think that it was my idea.

But I'll tell you a secret...all this is God's idea. I'm just his daughter, and proud to say that even today, although I am a full grown adult, I am still Daddy's Little Girl.


bethski said...

I COMPLETELY relate to this 100% I am also daddys little girl, only and youngest girl.

I really enjoy your blogs. Keep on a posting! Its nice to know there is someone out there that I can relate too. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Flippin heck you have a gift for very moving writing and you had me sniffing back a few tears here.

My father also died while I was a child, and I was his precious eldest daughter. I also have lots of special memories of things I did with my Dad. You never forget those.
I was eight when he died. A few months back it was 40 years since the day he died. I was cycling in France, and I was feeling sad a bit as I cycled along, remembering events that happened the day Dad died. But a few weeks prior to the anniversary I had received a blessing from a priest in Lourdes. I discovered that each time I had a sad thought, I also felt lifted up by this blessing. Hard to explain, but it was an experience of love.

Sarah said...

Adoro, THANK YOU for this post. WOW. As a daddy's girl, I relate and find myself whirring along in my own thoughts...

Angela Messenger said...

It is my late father's birthday today. Your post was perfectly timed. I was a daddy's girl even though by the time my dad died (also 11 years ago!) we were barely speaking. I guess you could say we were too much alike.

I am glad you posted this.

Adoro Te Devote said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I'm amazed at your responses! I guess, though, that it just proves the point...the bond between father and daughter.

Thanks be to God!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. This was such a beautiful post! Thank you!

Laura H. said...

Uh... I've no idea what to say. You speak for each of us in this post. It's beautiful. I love the analogy. Thank you for this!

Daughter of St. John said...

My Dad died two years ago this December 7th and I too was always Daddy's Little Girl. I miss him too. Too frequently there are questions I want to ask him and advice I want from him. I started my blog after he died since I didn't have him to email at 2am any more.


Thanks for the analogy and the tears. We are truly blessed by our Heavenly Father.