There but for the Grace of God
When I was growing up, my father was physically and emotionally abusive. I didn't realize this at the time, but my father had some mental health issues. When I was fourteen years old, my father, in a fit of blind rage he couldn't control, put his hands around my neck and strangled me to near unconsciousness. I know he did not want to do what he did. Every time he hurt me, he cried afterward. People have said to me that if my father had been truly sorry, he would not have continued hurting me. However, it does not do me any good to harbor anger and resentment for my father.
As a person who is still on my journey of healing, I see how desperate and tragic his situation truly was. I myself have experienced the same type of anger; anger so quick and so powerful it consumes your rational thought and things are done you truly do regret. When my father and I started receiving emotional support and professional help, both together and separately, our relationship slowly began to improve. When I was in my twenties, my father developed cancer. In the months before his passing, he changed from a person I loathed and feared, to one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. When he died, I could say I loved my father and I meant it.
The full circle I traveled with my father helped me realize that if God could change someone like him so drastically, the same can be true for me also. This realization gave me the courage to pursue my dreams of entering the seminary to become a hospice chaplain. Sometimes, God allows tragic things to happen to bring us to a point of living in His complete grace and love, and that is where I am today. I do love my father, and I pray that he has now received the peace and contentment he could not find on this Earth.