Forgiving Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer

No. I’m not talking about forgiving Huck Finn’s fence-painting sidekick or Becky Thatcher’s boyfriend. I’m talking about my dad, Tom Sawyer. My middle name is Tom and I got kidded about it my whole life.

Dad was an alcoholic so our home was dysfunctional. I felt sorry for Mom–she took her share of verbal abuse and shaming from Dad but she showed me toughness despite all the eggshells we all had to walk on.

Dad never had THE TALK with me or had even a word to share with me about me becoming a man. Dad introduced me to pornography, which later became an addition of mine. Dad always favored my four-years-my-junior brother, Sam, in everything. I often felt like a lost child.

Dad was sober the last 20 years of his life, thanks to AA. And he turned semi-mellow but he and I remained strained. To be honest, the primary emotion we shared was, I think, resentment.

In a conversation with a counselor last week I realized that after all the ill-will baggage I’d been lugging around I had never forgiven him for all the ill-will he and I both had for each other. With my counselor and prayer and The Holy Spirit I was able to genuinely forgive my dad completely. I left all that baggage for good.

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