The excitement has died down and I've had time to think all this through about my father. I am grateful for all the information, some of it quite interesting, but little came directly from him. He really has given me nothing and has made no effort to contact any of us. People keep saying this has a greater purpose. God has a purpose, I know, but I'm not sure what that is yet.
However, we have learned some interesting stories and fascinating coincidences! My parents met in California (my mother born and raised there). They got married and moved to Nevada. I was born in Nevada, and my father still lives in the same city. As a child, without him, we lived in Arizona a long time and then came to St. Louis. Later I lived in Oklahoma and many other places along the way. I didn't come to Pennsylvania until 1983, and I did not feel at home here for a long time. I always felt like a nomad, never being able to settle anywhere. I still remember the day I claimed Pennsylvania for my own. I was in an airplane that was landing and I looked down at the familiar river and the highways and the airport and thought--this is home. I don't want to ever move away.
Through the research, I found out my father was born and lived in a neighboring suburb of this very same city where I live now. In fact, his home was just a few miles from the church where our family attends. His father and grandfather and great-grandfather all lived in this area. I've been surrounded by my ancestors all these years and didn't know it! They are buried here and had successful businesses here. I probably have cousins nearby.
Another strange connection: My great-grandfather applied for a passport in 1916. He was planning to go to CHINA! Amazing! His business manufactured surgical instruments and I guess he was traveling to sell these products overseas. He planned to sail on a ship called the Empress of Russia, leaving from Vancouver. Many years later, I would be making my own trip to China.
So those are the facts. What about the heart issues? I never had a father growing up. My step-father never cared about me and I never even knew what a good father was supposed to be. When I became a Christian and heard God was my father, I thought He must be a hard disciplinarian to be feared, ready to pronounce judgment and condemn. When I married Fred I saw what a good father looks like--a provider, protector, comforter, encourager, source of wisdom. One to whom little girls can run to when they are frightened or sad. One who listens, one who has compassion for the small and weak. One who guides and leads. I didn't know. I began to see God in a new light and found that He is all those things. God is my Father. And not just to me. He promises to be "Father to the fatherless." (Psalm 68:5) "I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me." (II Corinthians 6:18) And, "If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:17)
When I was fatherless, God adopted me into His family. I've learned that He is a good father. He provides, protects, comforts, encourages, and guides me in wisdom. My inheritance lies in heaven with Him. My need for this earthly father is over.
I will see where this all ends up. But I don't have any real desire to talk with my father. He could have called me, after all. I think I would be disappointed in him because he wouldn't hold a candle to the father I see loving my two daughters every day.
To those searching for a father's love, the promise is for us all. "See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (I John 3:1)