A Short Story:
Olivia ran downstairs from her fortress that she built using a few books and two blankets stretched from bed to dresser. She hopped down the stairs and stood next to the front door. It was the week before Christmas and she had waited patiently all day for her father to arrive home.
Before then, she was upstairs inside of her fortress praying to God. You would think that her prays were offered so that she would get a new doll, or the pink bike that she wanted, or a dream come true – a new power wheeled sports car. But her prayers didn’t reflect any of those material things. She had prayed for something that every little girl should have.
She couldn’t wait to see if her prays had worked. As she stood by the big solid wooden door, her mother cautioned her to move back. Her father was large and he usually swung the door open with force, not paying any attention to who may have been standing in the path of it.
She waited eagerly, and when her father opened the door she jumped into his arms. He picked her up and swung her around. She was ecstatic. Her cheeks could hardly hold the joy that she felt inside. When he released her, he headed towards the kitchen. She ran in front of him enthusiastically showing him all of the things that she had received from school that day.
A picture of her class, two lollipops (one for him and one for her), and her reward for being on her best behavior.
“Mrs. Smith, gave me a gold star today daddy. I was so good in class, see,” she said reaching her small hand up to him to show him the gold star that was there.
“That’s nice sweetie,” he replied.
As his heavy footsteps made there way towards the kitchen, Olivia froze holding her breath. She was hoping that he was just going into the kitchen to give her mother a hug or a kiss perhaps, but he headed for the fridge.
Olivia stood there looking up to the ceiling which supposedly held the eyes of God. When he pulled out the bottle her hopes deflated. Her 7 year old mind could not fathom why her father would come home and see her beautiful smiling face and walk to the refrigerator to get a beer. Wasn’t she enough?
Friday night her dad was stumbling barely able to speak.
Saturday her dad was hung over, in a pissy mood, and didn’t want any company.
Sunday… sweet ole sunday… her daddy would dress his best and make his way to church. He sang so beautifully with his baritone voice. He even reached down from time to time to hold her hand. That gave Olivia hope. She knew that God was real, because on Sunday her dad was somewhat present.
Fast forward ten years and Olivia is in a relationship with a boy who is very disrespectful. He doesn’t beat her, no. He sees her on a regular basis, yes, and even tells her from time to time that he loves her. He even calls her pretty. She looks into his eyes holding on to his comments for dear life. She was never told that before. Not in the way that her boyfriend said it to her. He gives her what she wants to hear so that he can fulfill his bet with his friends.
“I bet you she’ll sleep with me. She has daddy issues, and she thinks I’m her knight and shining armor,” he says heckling with his friends.
Her dad hears about this boyfriend that she has and he is furious.
“How could you let someone disrespect you? Treat you like garbage? Can’t you see that boy means you no good? He’s using you Olivia. Don’t you know how to respect yourself Olivia?”
Olivia looks at her father with tears forming in her eyes. Her heart crushes inside of her chest. Her dad was not only supposed to protect her from men like that BEFORE they got to her most sacred place, he was also supposed to mend her heart, not call her stupid for making a mistake.
“Dad,” she says barely able to say his name. “Who taught me that I deserved better?”
Olivia walks out and sees her father every now and again from that point forward. She makes it into college because a counselor wouldn’t let her give up. While in college she meets a professor. A middle aged man that resembles her father in height and in build, but man is he so much nicer and more loving. From working with kids all his life he sees that there’s a change in Olivia. Her grades are falling, her optimism for life is waining, and the sparkle that was once in her eyes is no longer there.
He asks questions, he dives deep, he refuses to take her wish-washy answers at face value. One day she opens up to him revealing that her father passed away.
“You miss him don’t you?” the professor asked, starring into her saddened brown eyes.
“I hated him,” she replied. “Why would God give me a father that couldn’t show me that he loved me. He drank everyday. He wouldn’t even acknowledge me other than a hug or holding my hand from time to time. He never even cared about me.”
Olivia is heartbroken, she feels as if her tears are going to consume her. She has always had faith that God would bring her father back to life from his alcoholism. There wasn’t a moment that went by in her childhood that she didn’t believe that God could resurrect her father. But there she sat, empty. With a hole in her heart that couldn’t be filled. She looked to the professor for answers. Some kind of answers to her horrible truth. She felt unwanted, unloved, and empty with no possible way, from her point of view, to ever be fulfilled again.
The professor took her under his wing. He coached her, he stayed on her, he didn’t give up on her. He was there in her darkest of days. You see, Olivia didn’t know that before she met the professor he was looking for a daughter because he had lost one of his own children. A daughter that would have been the same age as Olivia. It pained his heart everyday, but he kept going. He kept encouraging other people. His life, his students, and his future meant everything to him.
So when Olivia came along with a saddened heart that seemingly couldn’t be repaired he heard God whisper, “I’ve answered your prayers.”
The professor could see the blessing from the beginning, but she couldn’t. But he never gave up on her.
Olivia graduated, she got married, she had children, she became a motivational speaker. All because of one man.
Her professor even walked her down the aisle. She didn’t realize until that very day that God had answered her prayers too. As she walked towards her husband, arm and arm with the professor, an overwhelming sensation came over her. Her father was there. Not in the form or the way that she had envisioned, but he was there. The professor had filled his place. God had answered the call. Not in the way that she expected, but in the way that she needed when her real father couldn’t give her the beauty that she was asking for.
I know, from personal experience, what it feels like to need a father figure. There comes a point in life when you have to realize that just maybe it’s not going to work out in the way that you held onto for so long. But God, always answers the call. In one form or another. Suddenly, somethings all become so clear.
Let go of your burdens, bitterness, and anger from the past. Let the love that is available for you find you.
I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary to move on and fulfill the life that you are meant to live.
I will leave you with a quote.
When you finally let go of the past something better comes along.
Writing is the way I choose to let go. Find your outlet, feel your pain, and release it. You have more to gain.