When I was fifty two years old I learned that my father was not my real father. The man I had known as “dad” was long dead by the time this revelation came so it did not change anything between him and me.
For most of my life it seemed that everyone in my family knew this secret except me. One of my aunts, who could bear the burden no longer, finally told my wife who gently broke the news to me. I had mixed feelings at first and then, as I sought the Lord in prayer, a few thoughts on the matter emerged. I wrote them down as a cathartic exercise, I share them because they contain a wider truth:
1. It doesn’t matter how you come into the world, it is how you leave it that is important.
We have no control over our conception and family but we do control how we live our lives thereafter and this, in turn, affects our final end. The way I arrived may have been a secret to me but I have full knowledge of where I am going when I leave this earth.
2. I know who my Father is.
Middle age brings with it a longing to understand our roots, our heritage. It was this very search that unearthed the truth about my true biological dad. Several years ago however, I discovered, through the gospel, my relationship to the Father in heaven and this knowledge keeps every other relationship in true perspective. I know my Father and He has helped me deal with this and every other hurt in my life.
3. Forgiveness first.
I could build quite a life of resentment around this turn of events, but survival requires forgiveness. My Father requires no less of me, His son. I honor my Father in forgiving the fathers I now realize I never knew.
On the day I heard of the news of my father, my eldest called me from his home far away. We spoke as fathers and sons do…