Our Fathers – Our Identity | By Bethany Luchetta
Father’s Day Month! Month?! Why did I agree to write about fathers this month!? I will start by admitting that I slept through the Father’s Day breakfast that my mom had planned for her husband (my dad, Thomas). You might be asking yourself why I called him “her husband.” He’s the dad who raised me. And really the only guy whom I call Dad. But he didn’t make me. I also have a birth father, whom I call Chad. Anyway, I was depressed about Father’s Day and how it makes me feel, so I slept through the morning.
Luckily for me, my dear-sweet-redemptive-father-example (aka my own husband) was home hanging out with our little Livvy Lou. I did eventually drag myself out of bed because Vince had to work some Israeli Defense gig at the Point Loma Synagogue. (I guess the Israelis don’t celebrate Father’s Day?!) After getting myself out of bed and lounging around, I was eventually convinced to play at the pool with my magnificent 3-year-old. So, this is me, and maybe you?
I am trying to be graceful with my sentiments. I am growing, and some years are better than others. I am working on being intentional at finding the good in any situation. In the meantime, it’s hard to pretend how I feel about my identity in relation to the connection—or lack of connection—I have with my fathers. I keep telling myself to write gingerly—family will read this, friends, my community. But, if I am not real, who can
resonate with this part of my humanity? I admit, I don’t have the worst story I have ever heard, but that doesn’t discredit my struggle. And it doesn’t discredit yours either—good or bad or indifferent (or somewhere on the continuum). The fact is, I feel displaced on Father’s Day. Trying to celebrate makes me feel fake.
The facts are: I was adopted by my dad (Thomas) and never knew my birth father (Chad). My birth certificate was changed, and I was not even told I had a “birth father” until I was 10 years old. I knew something wasn’t “right” all along, but I could never put my finger on it. I felt displaced, disconnected and alone for most of my childhood. How can someone feel these things with two sisters and a mom and dad in the home? At 18 years old, I met my birth father and then a whole rash of horrible events within my home rolled out against my soul.
When I met my birth father, it brought up old history for my parents—insecurities and both passive-aggressive and aggressive behaviors that seemed to be directed at me for rocking the boat. My older sister, who shares the same birth father, wasn’t ready to meet Chad, and my little sister, who doesn’t share the same birth father, was feeling oddly
displaced from me and my sisters’ situation. I don’t want to expound too much; they have their own stories. Nonetheless, my experience of the emotional struggles here began to shut down part of my heart. I didn’t feel safe with the world around me, and I started working even harder to gain God’s approval for my worth. I ventured even farther down the road of shame and confusion.
It is said that we get our idea of God from the father(s) we had. I have been in a spiritual crisis; fathers are distant, unreliable, untouchable—they walk away. I can work really hard and do really well, and still it’s not enough! I see how I have put this stigma on God. I am attempting to learn God is indeed good. He doesn’t force us—or our fathers (or mothers)—to do what He requires. He gives us all free will to choose; therefore, we end up with “humanity,” fallible humans walking around attempting to base our choices on our own definitions of right and wrong. I used to say, “Grace given, for grace desired” because I wanted it myself so badly. It seems to be ringing true once again in my ears.
I queried my birth father this week for this blog. I got to ask him if he missed me when I was young and what it was like for him as a Father not to have me around. I explained to him how I have an issue with ‘out of sight – out of mind’ based on the fact that I have never resonated with the ‘missing’ feeling. I figured if a Father could leave his daughters,
and not seen them, is it even possible to miss people? Do we just get shut out? Hear me out for a minute. I hear people say, I miss ‘so and so’ and I judge them; thinking to myself that they are being dramatic. People say they miss others because it’s the right thing to say when someone is gone. I’ve learned that. But, I don’t feel that. How can someone really be missed if my own father was out of my life and never connected with me. I am not worthy of being missed, and I wasn’t missed, so how can this be a real thing. The closest thing I can relate it to is grieving the loss of my first husband. When he died, I grieved. I am not sure if I missed him, or I missed the hope of what could have been for him. Or missed how he made me feel or the history we had. But, did I miss him? I watch my daughter miss her father (my husband). I say to myself, does she really miss him? It seems like she does. This is why I had to ask my birth father, “Did you miss me all those years?” He said, “Listen I was pissed off at a lot of people for a long time. It would have been different I suppose if I never saw you, but I saw you, we connected.” The fact is, I was missed, I am worthy of being missed. I overflowed with crocodile tears. That spoke to my soul.
God is gracious to me. He gave me an amazing husband who is a great father to his three daughters. I tell him constantly that he is raising the little Bethany in me. Jamie Humphrey said in her recent blog, “what is submission, if not by free will.” Submitting to love is our choice, not coerced upon us. What is love if not by a free expression of our soul? God is good alone in the fact that He doesn’t force us to love Him, or anyone else. I am starting to get it. Even with all the daddy issues the people of this world carry, God is still good and available for a relationship to teach us what Father love looks like. That in itself is spectacular to me as I am learning to trust Him as a Father.
Bethany Luchetta is married to her love, Vince. She mothers her growing toddler and two beautiful girls from Vince’s first marriage. Bethany runs her own Property Management and Real Estate Brokerages. The love of personal growth and theology pushed her to explore her deeper calling. Attending Dr Henry Cloud and John Townsend year-long Life Coaching Program in 2013, she was inspired to plan for her future career in Theology and Family Therapy at Bethel Seminary. Bethany is preparing for her revocation through Life Skills International, a 32-week personal growth course in San Diego.