Today, I played a popular song by Harry Chapin in honor of father’s day tomorrow.  I relate very much to this song as I have struggled with (and continue to sometimes struggle with) the “Father Wound”, more specifically, the Absent Father Wound.  My father, although present in my life during my early childhood, was extremely busy with studying for his masters and doctorate degrees. I felt as if he wasn’t around (or didn’t want to be around his children, especially me because I was “spoiled”). He kept hardcore pornography around and within reach of a 4 year old (me), cheated on my mother multiple times, and physically abandoned us when I was in high school (he emotionally abandoned us when I was younger).   The ending verses of the song ring very true, I grew up to be just like my father, both in my Sexual immorality and in that I no longer speak to him (and I tried weekly phone calls when I entered recovery but found we had nothing in common and even worse, he placed his work over speaking to me, further wounding me). I chose to practice “healthy detachment” from an unhealthy individual.

Thankfully, I have worked a 4th Step on this resentment and although I am still emotionally triggered by Father’s Day, it doesn’t sink my “emotional ship”.  I know he did the best he could given his upbringing and the situation we were in. If it wasn’t for his sacrifice in leaving his job to pursue a higher education and bring his family to the United States, then my life would have been completely different, and not in a good way considering there is little recovery in my country of origin.

Nevertheless, I don’t deny the emotions that rise up from this wound, I acknowledge them, and ask for God’s continued healing of these wounds.

Furthermore, as a father, I can take the message in the song and not make the same mistakes my father made (at least since my entering recovery).  I have two very young daughters and one on the way.  I acknowledge that I am not a perfect father, only God is, but I will raise my girls to glorify Him and do whatever I can to minimize the wounds I inflict on my children.

I wrote this recently in my journal concerning my father wound: All I can do is accept the past, learn from it, and change the future for my children. 

Click on the play button on the embedded player below to listen to the song.

Cat’s In The Cradle
by Harry Chapin

Child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let’s play.
Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today,
I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s ok.”
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
Said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I’m gonna be like him.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head and he said with a smile
“What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, dad.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job’s a hassle and the kid’s got the flu.
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad.
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?”
“I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then, dad.
We’re gonna have a good time then.”

Take what you like and leave the rest.

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