Men, Read This Carefully.
Where were you?I know that a letterfrom a son to his father should be the most natural thing there is. Not with us. But none the less I am writing this open letter to you.
I know that there is no chance of you reading it. That is not what it is all about. This is only about me. Sounds egoistic and self- centered. Maybe it is.
In the beginning you were a good dad. We had an odd start. When mom was in hospital with me, she got an
easter egg – her first easter egg in her life. One of
those big ones. But coming home she found that you
ate all of it. Not that you were mean. It never even
occurred to you that this was wrong.
But with me and my brother for the first few years
you were a good dad. So I am told. We went places,
we did things together, and you were there. The
omnipresent pipe in your mouth, closed in a suit,
always correct and distinguished. But then I beat you in
chess. That was it for playing games together.
I remember the days together. You came home from
work, read your newspaper – there was an evening
edition in those years -, we ate at 6pm precise, you
went to do some studying, and then we went to bed.
Later I learned that you watched the news at 8pm,
read some sci-fi, and went to bed. Just to repeat this
the next day.
You left us years before you physically left.
Therefore it was not that much of a shock when we
came back from a boy scout camp. While we were
gone, you and mom got divorced. We were just told
that you would leave a week later. Then you took one
picture and left. Frankly, it was as if nothing was
missing afterwards as you had been out of touch for
so long before. I remember that my brother and I had
given you and mom some gifts for your anniversary
only a few weeks before you left. You got some
wine – wine and pipes, a sure bet, but our budgets did
not measure up to your standards, so I never saw you
actually smoke one of the pipes we gave you over
the years. Mom got some flowers. She later told us
that they were a fitting gift. They were usually used
as decorations of graves. That hurt. It gave us the idea
that we had hammered in the death nail to your
Within the years following, I tried to keep contact.
Many times I would drive to your new home, on a
borrowed moped, only to spend some time standing in
the hallway of your apartment building as we both
searched for words. You never came.
I still loved you. I admired the fact that this remote
university ran out of courses for you to do as you
were so diligently learning and investing into your
knowledge. I was proud that you self-taught yourself
into different professions, way ahead of the days
when everybody talked about flexibility in the
workplace. Thus I chose a career path according to
yours. I asked you for help becoming a computer
programmer, and you gave me a telephone number. No
recommendation, no talk about what it was like to
I ended up working with you for a year. You were so
correct. I was the only one that was allowed to call
you by your first name. What a privilege. But frankly,
not really a father-son-relationship.
We had this moment. The moment I out-smarted you in
a COBOL program. Something like pride showed in you.
No word, just a look.
That was the closest we ever came.
After you had left our employer we met again a few
years later. It was maybe 5 times for lunch. I was back
at university, and you worked close by. So I searched
the restaurants of the area, sometimes for more than
an hour, whether I would find you for lunch. It helped
that you had your routines.
You never had to calculate your working hours. You
came and left the same minute day after day, thus the
number of workdays in the month determined your
work time. You used your vacations to do your yearly
refresher in the military service. This way you did not
have to come up with a new routine – somebody else
did that for you.
After that time I got tired keeping up this one-sided
relationship, and for many years you have been gone
for good from my life.
You saw all my three kids – once or twice each,
when they were dedicated to the Lord, or when they
showed up at your door to get to know their past.
And you turned away.
I did a better job. I can truly say that. I have three
wonderful children. It was not easy. Too many times I
had to fight my inheritance. Too many times I fell into
the pattern you taught me. All my kids at times ran
from me. All have come back and bonded.
Thus I tried to build a relationship with you when I was
contacted that you had undergone surgery and things
Here you were, this distinguished, but distanced
gentlemen. White hair, no teeth, in a sweat suit, with
no memory, confused, old. First you told everybody
that we were not allowed to see you. You did not
need us. But then you were glad we came.
It is hard for me to build this relationship after all those
years. I can truly say that I have forgiven you. Forgiven
you all the hours I laid in bed and was afraid to become
like you. All the situations I did not know how to react
because I had no role model. I could not even say at
times that I want to do it differently than you did –
just doing something was different, just being there
was more than what you did. But it did not help. It did
not give me a point of reference.
You are not here for me now either. This would be
the time for you to be the focal point of our
relationship, just as you cradled and loved me when I
was little, I am to care for you now. But on what
But why do I write all this to you? To get it off my
chest? No. As an exercise of soul-cleaning? Not really.
I want to tell you that I forgive you.
And I want to tell you about the love and greatness of
God. Ten years ago, God brought a man into my life
that became what you never were. A father. A friend.
A man I can turn to when I do not know what to do. I
man I can share my successes and my failures with. A
man that leads me in a godly way to lead a godly life. A
man I can trust to be there.
I am so thankful. God knows what we need. He sees
our sorrows. And he heals.
I truly wish that he heals you too.