Growing up as the daughter of an addict comes with its fair share of baggage. I like to consider myself a pretty well-adjusted adult, so you would think I would be past my dad’s shortcomings. However, all it takes is one little trigger, and I am right back to being that crumbling 12-year-old, crying in McDonald’s because I had found out my dad was arrested. It could be something simple like seeing my neighbor’s dad helping them move into their new home, or it might be something bigger like my dad not walking me down the aisle. Those moments take me back to that venerable place in my childhood. Those moments leave me feeling empty and less than important.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have forgiven my dad for the negative impact his choices had on my childhood. We all make mistakes and our parents are no exceptions.
I have grown to be thankful for the challenges that came with being the daughter of an addict. Those are some of the very things that have shaped who I am.
Despite all of that, oftentimes, I still feel the sting of those “daddy issues.”
On the way to work this morning, I found myself in the depths of those haunting emotions. It has been a difficult season as it is, and today my emotions reached their peak when I found myself on the side of the road with a flat tire. There I was, basically in a trance staring at my busted tire, a donut, and a jack wondering why these things don’t have an instruction manual. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I have never learned to change a tire. How did I make it through 30 years of life and not know how to change a tire?
As I thought about it, those feelings snuck in. When I turned 16, my dad was in the throes of his addiction. At that time in his life, his primary concern was where his next high would come from, not what would happen to his daughter if she was stranded on the side of the road with a flat.
I am sure that, to this day, the thought has never even occurred to him.
As much as it undid the feminist inside of me, I called my boss to come to assist me with this puzzle. As I was waiting for him to arrive, I started to fiddle with the tools in hopes of figuring it out on my own. I must have looked utterly confused because a kind gentleman pulled over to assist me. He quickly assessed the situation and decided I needed his help.
I told him my boss was on the way (I think most people would have gone about their day at that point), but he did not let that stop his act of kindness. He knew what he needed to do and he quickly jumped right in. As he began to loosen the lug nuts, he explained to me why he did this before he jacked the car up. Then as he put the jack in place, he took the time to show me where it goes and how to discern if it is in the correct location. In fact, every step of the way he explained the why and the how of what he was doing. By the time it was all over, I had a full lesson in how to change a tire. He did all of this so intuitively, just as if he knew me and how it is I learn best.
At that moment, I was just thankful to have someone there to help me. Initially, my primary concern was to get off the side of the road and to my job. I thanked him, gave him a huge hug, and with tears in my eyes told him he was my hero for the day. As he drove off with a smile on his face it hit me, daddy issues. No doubt, I have daddy issues.
One thing I don’t have, however, is father issues. God is my Father, and He meets me right where my earthly dad’s shortcomings are.
He bridges those gaps, and he has done that all of my life. From giving me a strong and independent mother who could fix anything to placing a loving stepdad in my life to walk through the big moments to blessing me with a wonderful father-in-law with a servant’s heart to orchestrating a stranger to meet me on the side of the road.
He has met every need.
It is not lost on me that this man not only changed my tire, but he taught me how to do it myself. He not only taught me, but he taught me in the way I best learn, explaining every why. He saw a woman who had never been taught this skill and met me in that need. This stranger did not want me to be stranded again without this knowledge.
I have no doubts that my Father sent this man to me this morning. He picked this very man, with these exact talents, gave him the perfect words, and had him deliver them in the exact way I needed to hear.
You see, I don’t have Father issues. My Father is watching out for me, He sees my value, and He loves me. Our earthly parents may disappoint us, but our Father never will.
Originally published on the author’s blog