Dear Surrogate Father,
As you are very well aware, I don’t use the word love lightly. As a college student, I worked as a camp counselor alongside an older, wiser man who shared his thoughts about our inclination to over use the word. When we understand the importance of something, we take care of it, protect it, and are mindful of its value. Mr. Battenfield shared with me his habit of valuing the word love by using it only in reference to his family and his God. He doesn’t love frozen yogurt. He wouldn’t love to see you. As awful as it sounds, he doesn’t love his friends. This is challenging in more than one way, having to come up with creative ways of expressing deep gratitude or passion. But, in the name of love, is worth it to be able to whisper or pray I love you and truly mean it. Because of Mr. Battenfield’s humble example and challenge, I have adopted the same practice. Yes, it is challenging. But it’s so worth the effort and sacrifice.
That being said, I really, really appreciate your concern, your perspective, and your sharing thoughts about my life and how I am choosing to live it. We jive. You get me, even in ways that I don’t get myself. You blame having the same birthday, fellow 6-14ers. God knows that I need you to shoot straight with me, not being embarrassed or awkward or dancing around the real issues. Telling me what men really think and helping protect me from making bad decisions. I am grateful for our relationship, to be your “other” daughter. Deeply grateful.
I know that you want little more than to see me happily and passionately married to a man who will provide for me, protect me, spur me on to being more Christ-like. To see me bear children and raise them in a godly home, praying all the while that they, too, know their Creator and go on to do likewise. To see me experience life in a way that you have and are experiencing, challenges and joys intermingled with an unshakable faith that one day we will be in a perfect world and in perfect union with each other and our God. And to be vulnerably honest, I yearn for it as well.
Yet another yearning exists deep inside of me. I wrote a text in response to your ongoing suggestion to find a good, family-friendly career and “settle down” to have a family with a good man:
I don’t wanna be a nurse. Can hardly bear to see people suffer with physical wounds. Don’t wanna settle down for the sake of settling down. It’s not…me. I know I would be living the life of wiping runny noses and load after load of laundry, always looking forward to the next cool thing or vacation or season of life regretting that I wasn’t doing something to help make society and our world a better place. Sure, I want a companion, someone to lean on and love passionately and let protect me. But I’m not willing to “settle down” for that if it means compromising my calling to cross cultures and be a light and a resource and haven to places and people who don’t know what that is. There are plenty of genuine Christians in America with big hearts making a difference. Not so many willing to leave.
For a long time I didn’t think the two could mix: living a life serving others while simultaneously raising and serving a husband and family. I still am not certain that the two will ever intermingle in my life. But I move onward in pursuit of what I cannot deny in my heart, hoping and praying that someone comes along beside me and content knowing that I am not settling if that person does not come along.