Sunny’s note: I started writing this in April 2018. It generated a lot of emotions in me, so it was necessary to step back before publishing. When I reference “today”, April is the time-frame it took place.
Don’t let the pain win.
I was writing a sermon today.
Wait, what? I didn’t know you were a preacher, Sunny.
Yeah, well, I’m not. But, I play one on tv.
Okay, not really. But, I really was writing a sermon today. In my head, not on paper. I’m not even sure why I was doing it, but here we are, fingers on keyboard typing away.
And my fingers are typing words I never thought I would…
Wayne Newton is a well-known entertainer from the 70’s. He is also known as Mr. Vegas, famous for his shows and repping all things Vegas. Showy, engaging and fan-friendly.
Newton is definitely old school entertainment.
While writing my sermon today, I thought of Wayne Newton. As you can see and hear in the video above, Newton represented everything 70’s. The leisure suit, the hair, the style – that was very much early 70’s pop.
But how does Wayne Newton relate to your sermon, Sunny?
The song I cued up in the video – Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast – came to mind today. It became the starting point for my sermon.
Memories of my childhood are scarce. For most of my adult life, I’ve found it difficult to remember things that happened back then, positive and negative. Today, I found myself thinking about this song…
That’s what we were called back then. Kids whose parents weren’t home after school had to let themselves in the house with…a key. Usually said key was on a string or chain of some sort hanging around the neck.
I don’t think I had to let myself in that often seeing as how I had older siblings. I think I did as I got older and the siblings moved away. I feel like I was actually excited about finally getting a key around my neck.
Weird, I know.
My parents divorced when I was young. This was back in the 70’s. My older siblings can probably describe it far better than I, but back then it doesn’t seem like it was the norm. Today, well, it doesn’t matter if you’re in church or not, divorce happens.
Then, however, most of my friends’ parents were very much together. Happily, it seemed. Even in our extended families – both parents’ sides – I only knew of one divorce around the time of my parents. Out of 16 children between the two.
It just wasn’t…well…normal.
To this little girl it wasn’t.
I’m running down the street, crying and screaming DADDY DON’T YOU WALK SO FAST.
Looking back, I think I felt abandoned and rejected by my earthly father. He was gone, no longer in the house.
At 17, I became a mom. She knows this now, but I almost didn’t keep my daughter. I was 17 and thought she should be raised by two loving parents. Her biological father wanted nothing to do with me, so adoption was an option.
I selected a wonderful couple.
After 32 hours of labor, she was born.
Having a Caesarean section in the 80’s meant a five-day hospital stay. Five days of getting to know and love my daughter. The life I carried, the labor I went through seemed all worth it.
To have someone else raise her.
But, I loved her.
A few days after I got home, she was back in my arms. I couldn’t abandon my child, my flesh and blood. Being still under my mother’s roof meant I had to discuss it with her.
She said yes.
No daddy. Still.
Fast forward a few years and I was engaged to be married. My daughter needed a father and I wanted a husband. We were in love.
He hated Arizona. I didn’t want to lose another man’s love again, so we moved to his home state of Washington.
Unable to keep a job, within a year he went to Alaska to make his fortune on the Alaskan fishing boats. Shortly thereafter, my Dear Jane letter arrived. I was crushed.
Away from family, friends, my home, all that was familiar, I tried to console myself. Using friends, I’d have them or their parents watch my daughter so I could have a good time.
I needed to feel better. Lonely. Single parent who was still very much a kid herself Abandoned and rejected again and again. It felt like a pattern. Continually abandoned, rejected, taken for granted – you name it, I felt it.
I cried out, God Help ME!
With bills starting to pile up and battling my demons, a change started to take place. It happened one day at my daughter’s daycare – a church, of all places. ‘Hey, we’re having a concert tonight at church. A young, college group will be singing. Why don’t you come tonight?‘
My extent of church was Catholic weddings and funerals. Of the Mexican variety with mass and all. Church? And God? I don’t need any more rejection by a man!
Not that I said any of that, but the internal dialogue was fierce.
When troubles rise and catch you unaware
The day to day of living seems unfair
When the singer opened his mouth and those words flowed, I was in trouble. Day-to-day living did feel unfair in that moment. I was a wreck inside.
By song’s end, the tears were flowing. I don’t remember much more about that night other than I became “born again”. I asked God to come into my life, become real, become a FATHER to me.
That was a huge step. Rejected by nearly every male figure in my life up to that point, saying yes to a God who wanted to love me as a father was hard to reconcile.
DADDY DON’T YOU WALK SO FAST
It hasn’t been easy, trusting God. Have I felt rejected at times? Yes. Have I felt abandoned at times? Yes.
But, He has a way of always showing up. He’s been there for me and will remain so.
DADDY DON’T YOU WALK SO FAST
I’m running down the street, crying and screaming “DADDY DON’T YOU WALK SO FAST”.
My earthly father, my daddy, was gone. The memory is so vivid, but I’m not sure if it even happened.
It might be a dream.
Down the street from our house is an elementary school. We lived on a West street and the school was on a North avenue road. I’m running toward the corner where they intersect to what I can only think is after my dad.
He left. He’s gone.
DADDY DON’T YOU WALK SO FAST
Typing it, speaking it out loud, the emotions flood my soul and I am a wreck again.
Writing a sermon? On this? HA! Good one, God. You amaze me with your sense of humor sometimes, Lord.
As if I…
My God. My Heavenly Father.
He loves me. He has ALWAYS been with me, even before I asked Him into my life.
Could He have stopped the things that happened as a child? Yes. But, then we wouldn’t have free will, freedom of choice, thought, action or belief. We would just be automatons kowtowing to God’s every whim.
If you believe in His goodness, if He did it for one, He’d have to do it for others.
Don’t let the pain win.
Through the pain, I found someone who loves me unconditionally. I found someone who understands me and gives me encouragement. I found someone who expects more out of me than I do myself because He knows that the end result won’t just benefit me but others as well.
As evidenced by my tears today, the pain is still there. Even after 40 years, it’s still deep in my soul. Not that it is bad or good. It’s a gentle reminder of God’s mercy and love. He brought me through it.
God didn’t want me to stay in that mindset.
There is no life FOR ME in Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast. It’s painful, but instead of running down the street after my father who was going away from me, I’m running to my Father who waits for me every single day.
We have to move beyond the hurt and pain, otherwise we wind up dwelling there. ~ Me, January 2018
Dwelling in the pain scars your soul. God can heal.
Maybe this story resonates with you. It’s sparked a memory or awakened you to a current/past circumstance.
I don’t know who you are or where you come from, but I am here to tell you that God loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could. He wants to pull you out of the past. He wants to work with you through the pain. He wants to heal the hurt in your soul.
Why? Because He loves you. And He does not want you to let the pain win.
God won’t walk away from or abandon you. He waits for you with open arms saying,
I’m here. Daddy is running fast TO YOU!