Honor Thy Father?

For the last six months or so, beginning with a dream in which a gravelly voice asks me, “How would you like me to spill fatherdaughtersome blood for you?”, I’ve been hounded in my dreams by people who are trying to either tempt, hurt or kill me. At first, they appear to be someone I know and I’m confused by this, but I later realize something about them was ‘off.’ It was some twisted force pretending to be someone I know. It’s been a disconcerting period of struggle. My daughter has just moved back in and when she gets settled, I will do a cleansing of our apartment with prayers, a sage smudging stick, my Jesus Christ candle and a specific prayer to Archangel Michael. (And any other forces of goodness who will help me!) But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about fathers and honoring them.

My pretend (I hope) father has been one of those chasing me and my children in my dreams, bent upon killing us. I’ve been sensing my father’s presence (he died in 1999) for several months now but didn’t understand until recently what he is upset about. (He left my mother and my brothers and I when I was eight or nine. We weren’t close after that, though I was a little girl who loved and missed her dad. There had been trauma in our family and it seemed more peaceful after he left and the older I got, the more I felt detached from him.)

I saw him several times over the years. The meetings were strained but polite, for the most part. I knew he and my mom were how I got here but I hadn’t given much thought to honoring him. I believed he wasn’t emotionally tied to us and that he didn’t really care if we honored him or not, which probably wasn’t too far off the mark. But he does want some appreciation for making a way for me to get here—plus, I let him down when he needed me.

I wrote here in 2010 about a dream in which an angel appeared to me. The angel looked neither male nor female, but I’ll call the small person in white, him. The angel didn’t speak to me; he drew my attention with his eyes, turned and pointed to a wall, which opened. There was another wall and it opened, too. (I know now this meant an opening had been made for a relationship with him but, obvious as it was, I didn’t understand it then.) Through the second opening, I saw my father lying on a cot, weakened, pale, half-gone. I didn’t accept this image of him. He was tall, strong, cocky, handsome. He lived in another state and I forgot the dream and its message.

But my brother, who left at thirteen to live with our father, had been murdered and the grief was literally killing my father. He called everyone, including me, to ask if we had arranged for my brother’s killing. I didn’t see this as a cry for help—I was blown away by the question and just shook my head, saying how crazy he was. A few months after the phone call, the angel appeared. My father needed me and we could have a relationship. Deeply buried at the time was skepticism.

My dad has been trying to get his message of pain across the dimension between us. I’ve been hearing on the TV or seeing written the words, “Honor thy father and thy mother.’ Doesn’t it seem fairer to honor my mother who stayed and raised her children, than to honor the person who left? This is how I’ve worked the answer out: I both honor my mother and feel a soul-deep gratitude for all she’s given and gives to us. I am nursing a new sense of honor for the man who got me here and I’ve asked for his forgiveness for not answering his call for help. I hope he can forgive me. I did the best I could at the time, but now I wish I’d accepted that when an angel comes in a dream, it’s time to pay attention.