Dear Dad…

By Cindy Koch

Dear Dad,

I can’t even begin to describe how upset I am. I have terribly let you down. Buried in secrets, I thought I was just having a little fun. But now exposed in the light, I am sick with myself. I know that it was wrong. Even while I was flirting with him, something in the pit of my stomach held my heart back, just a little. I knew that you were not OK with this. I knew that you expected more from the boy who would try and hold my heart. I can remember long ago, in the midst of blocks and Barbies, when you would playfully tease, “Is he Lutheran? Does he have a job?” I remember a few months ago, your head shaking, when the car across the street honked for the neighbor girl. You looked at me and said, “A real man looks me in the eye when he comes for my daughter.” This shadowy game of escape was not really what I wanted in love. You always taught me to crave so much more.

And tonight I saw a side of you that frightened me. Our normally quiet dining room still echoes with your thundering voice. When you looked down at me, I felt the anger and distrust burning through each word. You spoke plainly, I hated every syllable. You revealed my lies. I peered into my dark and disfigured heart. Every move I had made in the last few months ran further away from the truth and further away from your protective love.


But this boy somehow touched my heart. He told me I was beautiful. Outside of you, no one else has taken an interest. He was there late at night when I needed a voice of comfort. He somehow chose me over all the other pretty girls. Maybe he was worth this pain. I mean, he was the one that I think I might love. But even when he said that word, “love”, I said wait…

Tonight you found out everything. You learned that I was lying. You found me sneaking and deceiving to feed this love. I found myself hiding and isolating to nurture this love. I was surprisingly ashamed of this one that I think I love. And tonight, we both found out he was lying. He was not the person he claimed to be. I hate myself for falling into this trap. I wish I would have been seen this coming. But, I couldn’t seem to turn my wicked heart around.


I will never forget tonight, though. You picked up your phone and confronted this boy. I couldn’t believe you actually did that. You told him all the things that I remember hearing from my father who loved me. You demanded handshakes and honesty, patience and honor. You remembered your promise to fight for your precious daughter. As much as you shouted, as much as you called him out for his disrespect for me, tonight true love won. As much as I cried, as much as my heart broke for the love that wasn’t real, tonight true love still won.

Then, tonight, you turned to me. You pulled me close with your strong arms and whispered, “In the name of Christ, I forgive you.”

I am upset, but your solid embrace shows you love me. I am terrified of the voice that catches me in my lies, but your clear words forgive me. You remind me that I am worth more than the shallow passions of a devious boy. My father’s love rebuilds my broken heart, so that I can boldly love again.