Before those emotional breakdowns at twenty-three and twenty-five years old, I had not seriously addressed the abuse effects—distrust, anxiety, perfectionism, depression, and, underlying them all, shame.
After the second breakdown, I began a journey into emotional and spiritual wholeness. I fought the most intense battles from 1977 to 1987. What was hardest was what I needed most—to trust God’s goodness after my trust in my father’s goodness had so betrayed me. Pg.23
When my father was in the grip of his anger, only his tears expressed his pain. That morning, when I realized that my hatred had hurt him, I wrote an apology. “Please forgive me for those years of hatred. God doesn’t give me the prerogative to hate, no matter what.”
A week later, on the back of the yellow lined sheet on which I’d written my apology, he wrote: “How hard it is to be humble, but ‘I forgive.’”
I thought: how did this get to be about how hard forgiveness is for him? But I was done trying to make him see my point of view. All I knew was that he forgave my hatred; I had forgiven his abuse.
Jesus died for my sin. Jesus died for my father’s sin. We will both give an account, under the grace and mercy of the cross, in the last act of this long story God is telling. Pg. 22
“I understood his following my mother in her foray into oblivion. I didn’t jump into the fray either. My father didn’t make any sense, and my mother wouldn’t talk at all. This is why we don’t visit, I thought. They are too crazy-making. Is my father loading a gun, while his wife and son-in-law discuss orchids? I can leave. I don’t have to sit here talking about orchids, as if threatening suicide were normal behavior.” Pg 19