“Time does not pass, it continues.” - Marty Rubin
I haven’t written anything here since June, but here I sit, trying to answer the question “so what’s changed?” A number of people have asked me that, and as I count down the hours to the exact time I called and spoke to my father for the first time, I will attempt to answer that question.
First of all, I’ve learned how incredibly involved the filmmaking process is. The film is officially finished and I’m just wading through some contract details to finalize and set a theater premiere date, as well as an official release date. When I had this idea to make a film that would follow me on this journey, I would have never dreamt how many people have already been impacted and it’s not even out yet! There have been so many moving parts to this machine, and I’m beyond grateful for every person who’s stood alongside me throughout this whole process.
I guess that leads me to a second thing I’ve learned; which is the importance of community. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve felt alone; from childhood to adulthood. Growing up, I was the only one in my friend group who didn’t know his father, but I’ve now made connections with countless people who have the same story as I do. While it’s a sad reality that so many people share in this story, it’s also been encouraging to me personally. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s shared their story with me. I’ve said it since day one, but this film was never just about me. I’m simply an example of what so many people have gone through. My only hope is that this will be a vessel for people to gain understanding and to begin the process of forgiveness.
That brings me to forgiveness, grace, and mercy. I was actually talking with a close friend yesterday about this idea of forgiveness and grace and mercy. I’d been taught about those things from a young age, but never had to really put those ideals into practice. The thing about mercy, is that it’s unfair to both parties. Choosing grace is giving someone an undeserved “pass” if you will. It’s letting someone off the hook even though you’re well within your right to “punish” them. No one deserves mercy. If they did, it wouldn’t be mercy; it would be justice. It took a long time for me to be able to actually forgive my father for not being in my life. And honestly, it felt really good to see his countenance change when I told him I wasn’t mad at him; that I forgave him. Sitting there that day, we both knew that I would have been well within my right to be furious with him, and I think that’s what he was expecting. So being able to assure him that all I wanted was his time, was a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. I know this because he told me. It was something he’d wrestled with for years.
Maybe that’s the short version of what’s different. We’re not super close. We text maybe once a month, and even then it’s pretty brief, but there is an open line of communication now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’m different. So what’s changed you ask? I’m learning how to have a father. It’s new. It’s uncomfortable. It’s different.