Monday, December 22, 2008

ramblings from your daughter across the ocean

This morning I read a facebook note by a teen that I had the opportunity to work with this summer. Tomorrow, the 23rd is the 11th anniversary of his father's death. 44 years young, just a year younger than my dad currently is. He states, "All I know, is that life is pathetically short." I don't know if this is what finally tipped my need to get in contact with my dad, but it struck something deep. So in honor of the memory of his father, and the memories I don't have with my living father, I wanted to share the email I wrote to my dad.

Hey Dad,

So you've come up a few times in my conversations with friends as of late, so I figured I should drop you a line, and let you know I've been thinking about you. The problem is, every time I get the urge to call or write you, I never really know quite what to say. It's always such a long time between the times that we communicate.
This past Wednesday my friends and I were celebrating Advent and we lit the candle of Joy. A friend of mine asked us to share joyful moments, and beyond small moments of joy for the week, I though of the first visit I had back to England when I was 15. It was such a difficult trip, emotionally. I was so angry at how poorly our relationship had been for the first 7 years I'd been living in the states, and I really wanted some resolution. From our conversations over the weeks that I was there, I gained a sense of anticipatory joy. Maybe not joy in the moment, but the hope of future joy in a possible relationship with my dad. I realized as I shared that story with my friends on Wednesday, that some of that hope and joy had fizzled out. We are so horrible and keeping up with each other, and honestly, I don't know what a relationship with you looks like. I feel like the whole father-daughter relationship that kids expect is unrealistic for us to have. Then again, the whole grown child and father relationship doesn't work well for us either, because I don't really know you. Again, neither of us are really good at keeping up with each other.
Sorry if this is completely out of left field (baseball terminology), but I thought I should share my feelings with you... since, well... you're the other party involved. With all of that said, I thought it might make sense to let you know what's going on in my little piece of the world. So here goes...

The next two pages consisted of a long rambled monologue of my current life in San Francisco, which I will spare those who end up reading this.

Life, on this earth feels "pathetically short" sometimes. There are days that I don't want to face the broken relationships that exist in my reachable reality. However, there are days, and people that remind me of the preciousness of life and no mater how messy relationships get, God created us to be in them. Yesterday, we lit the fourth candle of Advent symbolizing love. Hope, peace, joy and love for the coming celebration of the birth of Christ.

It is in this very moment, that I'm starting to grasp onto an idea of what the Christmas season could possibly mean. While I push against what Christmas has become, and the strangeness of all our many traditions. It pulls deeply on my soul that celebrating the birth (even though it's not really at the right time) of an unsuspecting saviour that didn't quite fit the idea of the Messiah in that time, is a powerful and sacred thing.

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