Over two years ago I began working on issues I still had with my father who died in 2010. These weren’t just childhood issues, but things that affected me as an adult.
During the last few months I’ve been distressed about something I thought I shouldn’t or couldn’t do. Why not? That was the issue.
My reluctance began, but didn’t end with my father’s voice reigning me in. Even though he’s not around, I still hear a voice trying to hold me back. Many voices have tried to reign me in all my life. Sometimes they succeeded.
Yet the sad truth is this: They could not have succeeded had I not already internalized by father’s voice as my voice.
So why is this so difficult for me today as the woman I am right now?
Simply put, I have cared too much about what other people think of me, beginning but not ending with D. This is almost unbelievable to me, even though I know it’s true. I’ve lived my life (as a preacher’s daughter, seminarian, professor and dean) under a microscope of male and female scrutiny, not all of it pleasant. Plenty of people have wished me gone. Not necessarily dead; just gone. Far away.
So here I am today with a wish for myself. I can’t shake it off, and I can’t accomplish it in secret.
I miss seeing and worshipping with friends from my former church. The church is less than a mile from our house. I want to worship with them from time to time.
I also have wonderful friends at the church I attend with D. So what to do?
I’ll attend both churches, though not on the same Sunday. From time to time you’ll see me here or you’ll see me there. Or, if you live far away, especially across the great pond or down under, you probably won’t see me anywhere–for which I’m very sad indeed.
With thanks to all the strong women, men and children who’ve encouraged me to be the grownup I am.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 October 2019
Photo of Sisters #1 and 2 in Easter dresses, with Parents, taken in Seattle, WA, 1946/7