Hope, the dictionary describes it as ( to cherish a desire with anticipation – hopes for a promotion ).
While that is a simple definition, I think hope has a friend that is not seen so much today, and one that change mine and my fathers life.
Forgiveness. This is hopes best friend.
I Forgive You….
Growing up with a parent with an addiction(s) was scary, painful and some day’s, it just seemed hopeless.
All the violence that surrounds you is an immensely scary thing as a child or younger person, especially when you are the subject of that violence.
While we may not be in fear for our lives, we still learn that fear is all we have, and from then on life is harder to cope with. See, fear does not make you productive, it makes you hide.
Growing up I completely believed the worst invention of human kind was a leather belt. And, I wondered sometimes why God made the back of the hand or a fist for that matter.
But, without forgiveness I think hope is lost.
Life was rough, scary and through all this, I still had hope, and I knew one day I would need to conjure up forgiveness…
That day did come.
I was all of 17 years old. My father had been going through recovery in a 12 step program. He made new friends, whom today I call family.
I do not believe that any addiction is a disease, just the contrary. Cancer is a disease, something, unless you are a smoker, you really have no control over, sticking a needle in your vein, well that is a choice.
The disease part is something I think to take away a little guilt that should be there, guilt for doing wrong is not unhealthy, just the opposite actually.
See, guilt brought about the day my father shed a tear, a tear I never saw before from him. But, his guilt was mixed with hope as he hit his knees and asked for the one thing hope clings to, forgiveness.
I was 17 as I said. Life was rough and all due to the face I could see at “knee” level. I know, right about now you believe that when that day comes, you would rather launch that knee, well don’t.
What would have been worse? To see my father live out his life with his addictions or, live mine with the fact I could not forgive anyone of anything, ever?
Either way, the soul dies.
But how was I supposed to forgive him? Heck, I was 17, how do I FORGIVE AT ALL!
To tell you the truth, my father had accepted Christ while in rehab, so I had no idea what was about to happen until later, when I too found what a miracle my father was and turned my life over as well.
A small, clear voice in my mind said to say it, say “I FORGIVE YOU.” I did.
The tear turned into many, many more…and forgiveness was not only felt by my dad, but by myself as well. I could see hope in his eyes…and I felt it in my own soul that day as well.
Guilt for choosing to be an addict is your choice, but it is not a disease. You should feel guilty for any pain or agony you create for yourself and others.
That is my stern warning, because you might go so far as to kill forgiveness and hope in your child, hope and forgiveness you might need and want someday. So start now, that stuff is worthless.
My fathers hope was not just to be “clean” and a better person, I think my dad realized for the first time, he was a father, and truly wanted to be one…. That was my hope, and all it took was my forgiveness.