Somewhere along the way, my anger and rage turned to sadness and grief. I think it was when I realized that you weren't making a conscience decision to not be in my life - It was simply because you had no idea how to be a father, since you never had one yourself.
I don't think you'd know how to be a father in a normal circumstance, with a traditional family. And our circumstances were far from normal...
You had an affair with my mom. You made her love you. You made her need you. You got her pregnant, promised her the world, but refused to ever leave your wife. And honestly? I'm glad you didn't. Now that I know her, she's really good for you. She takes care of you because you can't take care of yourself. But my mom needed an equal partner. She needed something from you that you could have never possibly given her because you didn't have it yourself... Love.
You two were so wrong for each other.
She deserved way better. And you know what? You did too.
I used to go to sleep thinking about this crazy scenario about how you leave your other life behind and drop everything, choose us, and we live happily ever after. But dad, that isn't what I hope for anymore.
I'm 23 now. I'm no longer defined as "The girl that was born out of a temporary lustful high, accompanied by empty promises." I am the chosen daughter of the King of Kings, and I gotta tell you - I'm more fulfilled than I thought I ever could be.
Sometimes though, I reflect my feelings about you onto God. And it gets unhealthy. I can't see Him as a perfect Father, because you, my earthly father, messed up my brain.
So I'm dealing with it. Healing from it. Trying to understand these deep wounds that you left me here with.
You see, dad... You wanted to be there for me. I know you did. I saw the struggle in your eyes. You just couldn't fully because it would bring you guilt. Being with me felt like you were being unfaithful to your wife. And maybe you never thought I could sense that as a little girl, but I did. I knew your heart was never fully mine.
I feel so bad for you now that I'm an adult. Looking back, I can see that you tried to find affection in so many places. In your million dollar career, in your games with women, in me being born... But nothing satisfied you. Everything you had wasn't enough.
You just wanted to be seen. You just wanted to be cared for. You wanted to fill the emptiness in your soul. And dad, I wish I could tell you the Gospel and I wish you would listen. Because I have the answer you've been searching for your whole life.
But you're buried under medicine now. There's no relationship to be had. Not a normal one, anyway.
I'm willing to have that unconventional relationship with you though. The one where you just talk about dice and cards and black and white movies. The one where you smoke cigarettes and sleep all day. The one where you just think about yourself. I'm ready to be okay with that. I want to love your socks off and drop as many seeds of faith on you that I can. I want to spend whatever time you have left on this earth loving you like Jesus has loved me. Because the time I've spent mad at you has been draining.
You weren’t there for my first kiss, my first heartbreak. You didn’t know what my favorite subject in school was or the name of any of my friends. You never taught me how to drive, you never heard what I wanted to be when I grew up or attended any of my parent-teacher conferences. You were distant. There was so much space between your world and mine.
And before you say "But I sent you money whenever you needed it!" - Dad, sending a check every month does not make you a dad, it makes you a decent person.
But I digress... I'm not upset with you any longer.
Of course I feel bad for the little girl I used to be. Throughout my life, I always envied those girls that had their father present. Who had memories of their father. Those who were daddy's girls. I hated being called out as the "girl with daddy issues." No young person should ever have to feel that crushing weight on their chest.
So for a while there, I tried to just forget you. I tried to push you out of my brain and go on living life without you. But how could I? When I look in the mirror, I see you. I look just like you. We are twins. It's actually quite weird how much we are alike. So I can't just move on from you.
I'm here. And physically, you are too. Your depression and bipolar has taken any chance of you being spiritually or emotionally present away from me forever.
And I hate that, because I miss you.
I miss the you who never existed. I miss the person you could have been. I miss the chances you could have taken. I miss all the times you actually had the brain capacity to understand Jesus' sacrifice for you. I miss the opportunities you had to be truly happy, truly fulfilled, and truly at peace.
Growing up, a lot of your friends and family would tell me "Jonni, your dad has done the best that he can." And I'd always roll my eyes. I always thought it wasn't true. I always knew you could have taken another path and lived a different kind of life. Back then, to me, you followed in your own dad's footsteps.
But those people are right. You did the best that you could. I'd be in the same boat as you right now if I didn't meet Christ. I'd have my worth embedded in the money I made, I'd be having an affair on my husband, and I'd be reckless.
I'm not bitter anymore. I don't write songs about you breaking my heart any longer. I don't try to figure out what I could have done better to make you choose me.
I just miss you. I miss the hope I had for you.
I miss the person you could have been if you had encountered the love of God.
And I know God can work a miracle now and get you to understand His Word... but until then, I will show you the grace, mercy, and pursuit He has shown me.
Dad, you are worthy. And even though you never told me that when I needed it most, I will remind you of it until I can't anymore.
I love you,