BeliefNet is posting a piece I did about my father and his relationship to the various presidents he has know…all since Harry Truman. A unique position to have. His long career had him in relationship with the high and mighty and the low and powerless.
What was it like to be his child? I can only speak for myself, not my 4 siblings. But I can speak for all of us when I say we knew we were loved, felt secure in that love and missed him terribly when he was away from home months at a time.
As a little girl I read his absences as “abandonment”. Of course he hadn’t abandoned me but that’s whfelt felt like to a little girl who just wanted her daddy. As a result abandonment has been my “issue” all my life. I often feel insecure, lack confidence. Oh, I knew Jesus was my security and my confidence was in Him but I wanted and thought I needed something more tangible. I have made poor choices in my life as a result. I don’t blame my father…far from it. He is my hero.
But I do recognize that his absences and fame had repercussions in my life. It would be the same for any one whose parent was absent from home for extended periods. It makes for dysfunction. But I take comfort that all of us are dysfunctional. All the families in the Bible were dysfunctional. Including Jesus’!
Yes, he traveled a lot. I missed him. But I had a front row seat for something far bigger than I could comprehend. The impact of my father’s ministry on the history of the world and our nation is just being told. I knew he was out preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lives were being radically changed by Christ. I got to travel to wonderful places – though generally I did not go with my father when he was holding meetings in a city. With a few exceptions. I met some fascinating people, especially the missionaries we had in our home frequently. Very few names you would recognize but they impacted me. I could size someone up by the way they treated me. There was one who came to visit my father who virtually ignored me. I didn’t like him though he was admired by the world. Then was another another man, the radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey, who treated me like a long lost friend – so warm and gracious.
But mostly I met folks just like me – just folks. My parents let me have as normal a life as possible. I am “different” but not special or entitled. I am a fellow pilgrim on an unpredictable path called, “life”.