The Concert that Reunited Me with My Dad
For anyone who has been blessed to have that college experience, you know that, like everyone says, it is a new chapter in your life. You dream of moving away from home for the first time. You dream of your first apartment. You dream of getting your first car and heading into the wind, anticipating what lies ahead. You dream of meeting new people and making new friends. That was me, the typical teenager ready for a new opportunity. But, in all of my dreams, I never expected that this new journey would open the door to re-establishing a relationship with my Dad.
I looked forward to getting involved. I’ve always loved helping people, and I’ve always loved meeting people. One activity was joining and actively participating in the Baptist Student Union. There were so many spiritual, educational and fun activities. I could not list them all. But, there was one in particular that I can remember because it was simply priceless. It was a Newsong concert. I was so excited. We were all excited about that concert.
The only problem was that fans that were unable to get tickets were creating pandemonium outside the counter and the manager had no choice but to call the police to control the crowd that was going berserk. Designing a clear ticket management system and implementing help desk is the need of the hour so as to maintain peace and quiet and manage people.
We were all having a great time. I remember being in the auditorium when one of my friends came and got me. I can’t remember our conversation specifics, but she said something to the effect of someone was looking for me.
Well, we were a tight group, and to everyone, this person was a stranger, so I had my little “protection detail.” They were not going to let me out of their sight. When I turned the corner, I knew it was my Dad. I was simply speechless. I did not know what to feel. But though I could not outwardly respond, inwardly, I was bubbling over with joy. Of course, my friends asked if I was OK, and only when I provided them with that assurance, did they feel comfortable allowing me to spend some time with him.
From that point on, we spent time-years-getting to know each other again and getting reintroduced or introduced to my family (we have a big family on my Dad’s side). You may be asking, well, why was there a break in our communicating? My parents got divorced when I was very young. I lived with my mother and my maternal grandparents.
As with most divorces, there was a lot of pain. I had pain, Dad had pain and Mom had pain. And though my mother never said anything mean about my father, at that time, she was not in a place where she could talk to me regarding my Dad (she did eventually get to that place; And she and Dad got to a place of being able to communicate as well). That’s where my grandparents came in, especially my grandmother.
Over the years, she had saved two pictures of my Dad-one was a group photo of the gospel group he sang with, and the other was his high school graduation photo. She saved them until I was “old enough,” as she said. They always created a loving environment concerning my Dad. When I told them my Dad came to the concert, they encouraged me to allow the new connection to grow and develop. I was scared because I was hurting inside, but I was going to run with this opportunity, using that joy I felt that night to suppress the hurt.
Dad and I had our ups and downs. Our most conflicting moments centered around his desire to turn back the clock and make up for the years we were apart. He wanted me to be that little girl. It would make for a lot of tension because I would counter him, always reminding him that I was grown.
But, eventually, we got to a place where we loved each other with extra respect which fortified our bond. I understood that he wanted the best for me and wanted to protect me from anything and everything that could bring harm. And he came to a place where he allowed me to fly, but like a loving parent, he was always there with a watchful eye and a listening ear.
We re-learned how much we were alike, whether it was eating chicken, listening to gospel music, writing poetry or talking about big trucks (he was a truck driver) and Caterpillar equipment. The list could go on and on. And despite our moments of tension and/or disagreement, it’s the happy moments that I keep in the forefront.
Daddy journeyed home to Heaven a few years ago, but I know that his watchful eye and listening ear are with me each and every day. I have one of my favorite photos of him in my car, and I am not ashamed-at all-to say I talk to him when I am having some of those moments on the highway or when I pass a Flying J tanker (Dad gave me a miniature one) or when I pass a Howard Sheppard truck (he worked for them).
I also think of him every time I open my Bible, which was a gift from him, because he thought enough-and I am so glad-to prepare me for whatever life brings by sharing the word of God. I will forever be grateful for being “Daddy’s Little Girl.”