Daddy In The Grandstands
When I walked down the empty corridor, the bare floor seemed to stretch on forever. Nearby, the clicks of my mother’s shoes rang sharply in my ears. When I opened the large metal door, my senses were immediately flooded by a pungent, stale stench. In front of me were rows of steel stools and bulletproof transparent windows. As I stood molded against the wall, my body shuddered, yet I hid behind a cover of indissoluble emotion. A short, stocky man with a close-shaved haircut, wearing pale blue overalls approached a window. Tears came to my eyes, but my feet remained stationed in place. My mother walked over to a steel stool and took a seat. When she picked up the receiver, I watched as an array of emotions swept across her face. After a few minutes of conversation, she motioned me over. Slowly, I lifted one leg and then the other. At the window, I stared across at a face which I had adored my whole life.
Vivian with her dad
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“Hello, mija,” he said casually. With those words, the torrent of tears that pressed against closed lids released a single trickle down my stricken face. Why? I asked myself. Why did our family reunion have to take place in this remote prison cell? Why was I crying? You have been through this many times; I tried convincing myself. What is the difference now? Nevertheless, my heart gave way at the sight of my father, three feet in front of me, separated by the glass partition. “Hello, daddy,” I said at last.
“Why?” Became the question of my life. Why, a simple three-letter word, full of ambiguity, nonetheless, able to invoke a whirlwind of thoughts. Questions like: Why are my parents separating? I love them both. Why must I feel the brute of the family turmoil? I can’t take sides. WHY? Is anybody listening, does anybody care? These are the types of questions that often infiltrated my mind, and in some ways, lead to states of spiritual depression. Unknowingly at times, I let my faith in God slip though my fingers, as I submerged in a trench of self-pity and distress. I knew deep down that God was in control but I never understood why it was happening to me. As my walk with God matured, I began to understand more about the “whys” in life.
Through the ongoing battle of heartache in my home, I came to the realization that I was not alone in it all. I once heard a message at a youth camp that provided a mental image of who God is to me. The preacher gave his testimony of how as a young boy he dreamed that his earthly father would attend one of his baseball games or at least give him the attention and spiritual guidance he longed for. His dream never came to fruition. Yet, once he found the true love of God he knew that “God was his daddy in the grandstands cheering him home.” I relate to this illustration because as a child, I had always been known as “daddy’s little girl.” Being the youngest, and only girl, you can’t help it!
But some of the greatest pains and unsettling memories in my life have been from seeing daddy on drugs, in and out of prison, him not always being there on special occasions and even seeing his body bruised after being jumped by men half his age. Yet, I have found assurance in knowing that God, my spiritual father, watches over me. Psalms 30:5 states: “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”" I realize now that God has placed me here for His divine purpose and He would not place a load upon my shoulders too heavy for me to bear.
I have learned to put my faith and trust in God. Trust, when I am worried and feel alone. Faith, when I can’t see what lies ahead. In these two virtues, I have found a greater joy and peace in God. I have learned to rejoice in His faithfulness.
God has given me much more than I could ever deserve. God filled me with the Holy Ghost and baptized me in His name when I was 8 years old. I have had the opportunity to be raised in the church and blessed beyond measure with spiritual leaders in my life. Although my family has its trials, I am grateful to have each one of them alive, so one day they too might know Him. God has extended his grace and mercy to my family and I, and all the good far outweighs the bad. God has led and directed my footsteps, opened and closed the right doors, and through His word has been the guiding light unto my path.
In summary, I end with a quote from Pastor White that has been a constant consolation: “This is our lot in life and God will maintain it.” I know as long as God is my “daddy in the grandstands,” I can’t go wrong.
Please continue to pray for my father who is incarcerated at Wasco State Prison. In Jesus Name! God Bless.
Update 10/15/2007: Vivian’s father is no longer incarcerated but please continue to pray for her father’s salvation.
Vivian and her father
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