How Bitter Bitterness Is

He was the Daddy that a little girl dreamed of having. He was my Daddy, and I was his “Dolly.” There are so many very fond memories rolling around in my mind of the special times that I had with my Father. I still have the mirror with the Jack and Jill rag dolls images on the back that he gave me when I was little, and I still use that mirror. I also have a treasured jewelry box that he gave me when I was a little older. But sometime around the time that I was of the age of 11 or 12, things changed for him. 
For most of my life, my relationship with my father was wonderful, however, my relationship with my mother was another story. In my mother’s eyes I could do nothing right. 
My mother was a person who was very unhappy with her life. She got pregnant and so my parents got married. I think the many years of responsibilities for which she really didn’t have much of a desire, made her go into a period of her life that reminded me of a rebellious teenager. She started going out with two of her nursing friends and drinking after work. And, it escalated from there. She was driving home drunk one evening and totaled her car, thankfully, as far as I know, no one was hurt. She wanted to have fun, and she wanted to be the center of attention. She liked the attention from men. So, one week she came home and asked me if I would like to go away for a “girl’s weekend,” I was so excited, that my mom, wanted to take me away for a weekend. Only, it was a rouse. What she wanted actually was to go away for the weekend, and I was the excuse. She was meeting a man for the weekend, and brought me along. In that episode, I was nearly raped by that man. I was 14 years old. I got away from him, locked myself in the bathroom and I cried. Finally, I got the courage to go into the room where my mother was sleeping, told her what happened, and told her that I wanted to leave. Her response to me was “go to sleep, we are not leaving.” The next morning I was warned that I was never to speak about this incident again. It would be a few years before my Father ever found out about this incident. 
My Father was powerless to do anything. The marriage between my parents deteriorated, and before I turned 16, my mother left my father. Back in those days, children automatically went with their mothers. And while that was a rocky time for me as my Mother sewed her wild oats freely night after night, sometimes not coming home at all, it was even rockier for my Dad. 
My Father loved my Mom, he wanted the marriage to work out. I don’t remember hearing any anger coming from him, but he did get depressed. And as his depression lingered, he became bitter, which only deepened his depression. He lost his way somewhat. He lost trust in people, and it was distressing on my end to watch my Dad go into a downward spiral from which he never emerged. He came from the time where people associated going to a psychologist as having mental illness, and that was something that was never going to be his label. Eventually his bitterness turned into becoming somewhat paranoid. My wonderful father, turned into a man that was so far from the person he truly was. Just before he died, I sat down with my son, and we discussed Grandpa. My son also didn’t like what he saw in my Dad. I remember saying to him, “that is not your Grandfather, I specifically want you to remember the Grandpa who was at everyone of your school activities or sports games, the Grandpa who took you to the park, pushed you on the swing, the Grandpa that bought you ice cream. That’s the man your Grandpa is.” Sadly, my Daddy, my first love, died alone at his home from a heart attack, shortly after the last time we visited him. Because he didn’t have a telephone, he could not get help.
Anger (I suspect that my father started out with some anger), morphs into bitterness, and bitterness will eat you alive, if you give it even a tiny part. The wonderful man that my Father was, was taken away from me and my son by just that. My Dad taught me that last lesson and it’s a lesson that I will never forget as long as I live. It serves to remind me that I cannot give into anger or bitterness. But, when I experience those feelings, I take them to God, I spew them out, and I dump them at His feet. I cannot be in communion with Him, if those feelings are roaming around in my life. I urge everyone to do the same. Trust God, tell Him your hurts and disappointments, He will act. 
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 55:22, ESV)

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