Father of the Fatherless

Monday 31 December 2007

At the moment I am sitting and looking at one of the more painful wounds of my life, the wound of the Daughter Who Wasn't Loved By Her Father. It's a deep wound and I have been aware of it ever since it first appeared, by virtue of its very deepness and the resulting defensiveness it has caused in my life. And now, at this point in my life of rebuilding and unfurling, of rebuilding my low self-esteem and self-confidence, it is calling to me to re-examine it once again. To really look at it, and to acknowledge just what it has done to me.

It's easy to gloss over your deepest wounds simply because they are too painful to confront all at once. Much better to look as long as you can and then go away and look at something else. Sometimes all we are needing to do at this particular time is to look and glance. But other times, it is necessary to sit and stare at it and to acknowledge the parts of you it has numbed.

I am rereading The Shack again. I don't know how many times this makes it. It is a book I shall always go back to a delve into because of Paul's ability to capture the heart of the Father so perfectly. So last night I came across this. Papa is represented as a black African American woman, who happens to be cooking up a storm in the kitchen at this part of the story, and she is explaining to the central character, Mack, a little bit about her/his identity:

She picked up the wooden spoon again, dripping with some sort of batter. "Mackenzie, I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are derived from my nature. If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it's because I love you. For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning."

... "But then," [Mack] paused, still focussed on staying rational, "why is there such an emphasis on you being a Father? I mean, it seems to be the way you most reveal yourself."

"Well," responded Papa, turning away from him and bustling around the kitchen, "there are many reasons for that, and some of them go very deep. Let me say for now that we knew once the Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don't misunderstand me, both are needed - but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence."

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