My Father

My father, Bob Cruz

Not all of us are blessed with good fathers. My father was a great man to many; he was handsome and charming with a charismatic personality.  He was a professional boxer in his twenties, a successful building contractor, a wonderful friend and had a gift to make others laugh. I did not know this side of him.

What I remember of my childhood was not normal and we were rarely happy when he was around. Our mother suffered greatly because of his misogynistic behavior. I was 8 years-old when my father decided to pack up and leave. In my heart I could not have been happier. I could hear our mother crying in the privacy of her bedroom, and all I could think was, “Why is she crying? We should be having a party instead.” I never asked my mom why she cried, but as an 8 year-old I understood a lot for my age.

I do have some pleasant memories of our dad. He built us a home with his bare hands. The boys had the best room with built-in desks, and all of us girls shared a room. He also built us a cement swimming pool that we used durning the summer.  He would load us up in the back of his red pick-up, and we would go to the Brawley Drive-in theater to watch a movie.

He struggled having a relationship with us girls, but I do recall one of the times he talked to me. We were sitting on the steps near our front door. He told me that we were going to move, and that the new place was going to have water that came from the ground to water the grass. Sprinkler systems were not around, so this conversation really intrigued my young imagination.  Other than that he scared me, because his voice was always angry and loud.

Our father was good to his sons and taught them his trade in construction; two of my brothers worked alongside him. Several other relatives and friends benefited from his trade as a lathing/plaster contractor, and several cousins and uncles worked in this industry because of him.  One of my brothers remembers all the great humor our dad shared on job sites, because he was so entertaining. My father had a talent for jumping rope like Sugar Ray Leonard. He loved watching boxing matches. He was loved by everyone he worked with.

My father had a heart to be good. It was not until I was an adult that his sister, my aunt, shared the story of his upbringing. I do not know why, but he was raised by his grandmother. She was old-school strict so came across as mean. This was his first interaction with a matriarch, and the reason for his great distrust of women and believing that they were all the same. He had moved up in the ranks of boxing, winning 92 amateur bouts representing the local contractors’s union. He fought in New York, Chicago and Florida, but mostly at the Olympic Auditorum in Los Angeles. He only had 4 professional bouts, when his grandmother persuaded him to stop. This may have been another reason, why he did not like women, because he held her accountable for this decision.

I never had any resentment towards my father. Our mother had great cause to badmouth him, but she never once spoke ill about him. All of us kids knew the real story, but it was our mother who taught us to honor him. I am so grateful for her strong belief in protecting us from the toxic behavior of a woman scorned. She handled this matter with God’s grace. And thanks to our mother, we all turned out God-fearing.

Years later, when my father was in the hospital, I went to visit him. He was vulnerable and weak and had developed a softer side, but our conversation was still strained. In a strange way I recognized that he was attempting to atone for our past.

My father may not have been very religious, but my brother recalled that whenever he worked on a project for a church he would tithe 10% of his earnings.

Have you ever wondered why the same sin follows the next generation? If someone is angry or holding on to hurts from the past, it can easily warp the next generation. Forgiveness and prayer severs this from your bloodline.

Exodus 34:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

I thank God for my father because he did give me life and a great sense of humor.

We are to honor our fathers always, but especially on Father’s Day. If you are not speaking to your father, today would be a good day to forgive him. God Bless!

My Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray for all fathers, that they may learn to love You as their Father. We sever all generational curses off the bloodline, (name the curses here). Heal their brokenness and allow them to become the fathers that they were meant to be. Strengthen your families, Lord, so that we can all love one another. Let fathers take the role of becoming the spiritual leaders of their families to bring balance to Your Kingdom. Amen.

 

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