Saturday, November 14, 2009

About Brenna

I’ve been completely blind for about five months now, and mostly blind for a couple of years. For the most part, I think I’ve been okay with that. Sure, there are times when I start to feel sorry for myself; times when I feel depressed or angry, but I always remind myself that there are much worse things that can happen to a person than going blind. But last Thursday, being blind really sucked.

I haven’t talked much about Brenna. I guess that's because I'm ashamed of myself. This is a big part of my spiritual growth, though, so I guess it's time.

A while back, I mentioned that shortly after my dad died, I got a girl pregnant and then ran off to the city. Clever how I glossed that over wasn’t it? I ran away because I felt like I had made a pretty huge mistake. I was too selfish and immature to take responsibility for a child, so off I went.

Brenna was born in April of 1997 and I had absolutely nothing to do with her other than paying my child support. Don’t think too highly of me for that, the only reason I paid was because I had to. There was a brief period when Brenna was about 2 years old when I saw her a couple of times, but again, I only did that because I felt like I had to. I knew my family wasn’t very happy with me so I tried to fake it. It was only a couple of visits though, and I gave up on it.

That went on until about a year ago. By then I had finally started listening to God and things began to look a lot different. Notice how I said “I began listening to God.” He had been talking to me all along, urging me to do the right thing, I just wasn’t listening.

So, last year, Brenna and I started exchanging emails. Emails were a good first step for us. Brenna’s mom had told me that Brenna wasn’t ready for phone calls yet, and that was okay with me because personally, I hate talking on the phone. Also, Joni, Adam, and I were still living in Dallas so visits just weren't an option yet.

Do you think that was good enough for God? Nope! In April, we just couldn’t afford to live in the city anymore, so back home to Nebraska we came. Convenient huh? Well, I was still dragging my feet. I was too scared to call Brenna on the phone, and by then my eyesight was far enough gone that I couldn’t use the computer anymore.

So God gave up and threw in the towel. HA HA HA no way! Instead, he had the lady from the Commission for the Blind give me a screen-reader program called JAWS. So the emails started up again, although now it was mostly with Brenna’s mom because Brenna was starting to lose interest in emailing. Kids these days. Long story short, last week I got an email inviting me to a school concert that Brenna was performing in.

When I was in school, I played in the band. I wasn’t much of an athlete or anything, so the band was really all I had. Also, I was pretty good at it and was proud of my accomplishments. But my dad never came to see me play. And now that he's gone, this is what I remember. That was when it really struck home.

Joni and I talked it over. I really wanted to be there, but I knew it would be hard for Joni too, meeting my daughter and my ex-girlfriend all in the same day. She knew it was important to me though, and agreed to take me.

Well, the concert was great! It wasn’t a band concert, but some different choir groups. Granted, I couldn’t pick out Brenna’s voice from the others, and I couldn’t even see her, but it felt good to be there. Mind you, we still hadn’t met, but Joni was able to pick out Brenna because she was running around with a friend who was introducing Brenna to her parents before the concert began.

When the concert was over, we exited the auditorium to see if we could find Brenna. We didn't have to look far, she was right outside the door, waiting for us. I was so nervous and just didn't know what to do, so I tried to shake her hand. She ignored that and gave me a hug. She was much braver than me! And also much taller than I expected! She’s only 12 years old, and already 5’ 6”!

Brenna led us over to where her mom was waiting and we all talked for a few minutes. We didn't stay very long though because I didn't want to totally freak her out. Actually I think I was much more freaked out than she was. Before we left, she gave me another big hug and said that she loved me. I wouldn’t have blamed her for being angry with me and chewing me out, but she was so sweet that it almost broke my heart.

Well, anyway, I never wanted to see so badly as I did that night. I wonder what she looks like. Does she look like me at all? I’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime all I can do is be there for her as much as I can. I said earlier that I ran away because I felt like I made a mistake. Of course, now I know that my only mistake was running away. I don’t really think I can “make up for it”, but I can try to make things better going forward. With God’s help, I can.

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord God will help me: therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.


  1. I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. - Bilbo Baggins

    Everything happens for a reason. God Bless you on your journey.

  2. I was in choir when I was your daughter's age. Dad used to go, but never seemed to enjoy it, and then he found other things to do on my concert nights. I felt like a little 12 year old girl as I read this, only a 12 year old girl who's dad came to my concert. I already think you're a good dad. You're just starting on this journey with her, but you're starting it of on a good foot, and those hugs proved it.

    It was hardest for me too, wishing I could see when it came to a child. Not my own, but B's 3 month nephew last year in WV. I wonder if children are harder to cope with not being able to see. I can't imagine what it must be like, when its your own child. I'm sure the image in your head of her, however accurate it may be, is just as lovely as she is. I picture people in my head, hair color, smile, eyes, all seem to take up residence based on voice and personality, even when I've never seen them.

    Thank you for posting this. Man, you're like that author that only publishes every so often, so when he does, you're so excited haha!!

  3. Thank you R! Yeah, it will always be difficult with children, not being able to see them as they grow and change. As for my posting habits...I like to keep my readers in suspense. All two of you. *smile*

  4. Noooo, only two comment, but many are reading! Don't ever forget that! :*

  5. And not everyone follows publicly, or they might use a different feed, so you'd never know. There could be thousands reading ;)

  6. Hey, good on ya, as the saying goes. We live, we learn, we make mistakes along the way. If we mature we learn from the mistakes. GOD nudges us to make amends.

    Good on ya! Don't let this chance to bond slip away.

  7. Thanks Benning! I'm pretty excited about opening this new chapter of my life. A little nervous too!