Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

LJ’s Story: Lessons from an Absentee Father

If you listen to DZAS radio, chances are you’ve heard LJ Salceda.  Hers is the smooth voice of Inspirations Unlimited, the early afternoon show.  I first met her in March ’07, when I did my first ever radio interview here in the Philippines.  LJ has a sunny disposition and a great sense of humor—you’d think she had a ideal childhood.  She didn’t.  She wrote about it a few days ago in her multiply account, and I’ve requested her permission to post it here.

Here’s why I wanted to post her story:
*I want to warn my readers about the costs of adultery.
*I want my male readers to think about the legacy they will leave behind.
*I want to encourage my readers who have broken families—God can still do something wonderful with your life!

Here’s her thoughts:

Things My Father Didn’t Teach Me, But I’ve Learned From Him
-by LJ T Salceda

My dad abandoned us when I was barely two years old. I have a very vague recollection of my Dad- how he looked, what he liked or disliked, who he was, how he sounded; these in spite of my grandma’s efforts of putting up a decent image of him and the availability of some pictures he left. The last time I had a picture with my Dad was when I turned 1. He blew the candle on my cake. The next time I would have a picture with him, he was already inside a coffin. 🙁

I was in first grade when Dad came back to us. He was attempting to woo my Ma again. My strong-willed mother, who had had enough of his philandering, never gave in–thus permanently taking upon herself the heavy duty of raising my younger brother and me.

I still saw my Dad from time to time after that, but I can only count with my fingers those very rare encounters and he would usually disappear before I could finish the Birthday song. Now I will never know why He didn’t like being with me/us because He passed away a year ago. Despite many prayers, efforts, cards and invitations we were never able to have the ideal father-daughter relationship that I so craved and dreamed of my whole life.

Nevertheless, I did learn PLENTY from and through him in spite of his absence (who would have thought!) and the not-so-exemplary life he lived. This is NOT to discredit the memory or life of my father, this is to remind fathers and men (and myself) everywhere how important their roles and their presence are in the lives of their kids, family and the community.

1. A man will never have enough time, resources, and strength to take care of multiple partners/kids/families even if he’s the wealthiest, most powerful, most intelligent, talented person in the world. That’s why it is ideal and recommended to just have one. 😉

2. When I’m gone, I don’t want people guessing and betting how many kids I left in this world at my funeral. It was very embarrassing to be the butt of jokes in our small town where everyone knew and minded each other’s business.

3. I don’t want my family and friends to argue over who will walk behind the casket/funeral car going to the church and to my grave. No more drama!

4. I don’t want people declaring me dead when I’m still alive (even if I am on my deathbed).

5. I don’t want my kids to feel awkward and bizarre when they find out their classmate/schoolmate is actually their half-bro/sis. This in fact happened to my younger brother.

6. When I’m gone, I don’t want my kids to fight over who gets what or how much or if they will be getting anything in the first place.

7. I don’t want my kids to be scared of marriage/relationships/starting their own family.

8. I don’t want my kids to be angry with men or be disrespectful of their Dad. I was for a while before I came to know Christ.

9. Vices/addiction can kill you in the long run. My Dad was an alcoholic and a smoker (from what I’ve heard). I never saw him drunk but I did smell alcohol/nicotine from his breathe in our very few “talks” or more like pleasantries. He died from kidney failure complications.

10. It’s no fun discussing about families in school or with your friends when you’re not even sure if you have one.

11. I have imagined my Dad teaching me how to drive a car or how to deal with the opposite sex or to walk me in the aisle on my wedding day, but now I have to do/learn these things and more on my own or ask others to help me.

12. I still get jealous/envious whenever I see dads and their kids bonding, playing or talking, but I have learned to be happy for them. I have also learned to accept what I never had and will never have, and to cherish the things/people that I do have and the things that I can still do.

13. Forgiveness is a choice and a process. The pain, the loss, the longings, will not go away over night. Some questions will never be answered. But life has to move on and things will eventually get better.

14. Most important of all, God not only proved to be my heavenly Father but He also provided other people/men who acted and served as my “second” earthly fathers.

Men/fathers are not perfect. Who is anyway? But I commend and admire those in spite of their flaws, limitations and weaknesses try their very best to act their part and rise to the occasion when needed. For the young and single men, fatherhood and having a family is not an easy task, so don’t rush in. Better ready than sorry they say.

Thanks for sharing, LJ!  Your story reminds me of this verse:

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
-Psalm 68:5

You can check out her blog if you’d like to read more of LJ’s thoughts.  She’s also written a book about her family life called Eating with One Chopstick.

11 Comments

  1. Kuya kevin:

    Naiyak naman ako sa article na to… Ako din po wala na din akong tatay… 🙁 di ko rin po na-enjoy presence ng tatay ko when he was alive as he was always away… emotionally absent… you know what i mean… I need God to be my Father…

  2. There are plenty of people just like you, Ferds. I hope you’ll find comfort in this.

  3. Wow, very inspiring.. Thank God He has purpose for everything. In each happenings, there will always be lessons to learn. 🙂

  4. Thanks for reading my article Ferds! I know my piece might trigger painful memories/emotions, but I wrote it not to make anyone feel sad/angry/hurt, but to tell people that they are not alone and that we can try to make better choices that our parents.

    These are my personal reflections and resolutions from my past/experiences. If others can relate and will learn from it, then praise God!

    Thanks to you too Kuya Kev! You are a blessing to the Pinoys and to the world.

    Lj 🙂

  5. naiyak din ako…made me realize how blessed i am for having my family…

    hugs to LJ – dami- daming hugs!

  6. LJ, you’ve ministered to so many more than you’ll ever know. thanks for the courage to share what your father unintentionally taught you. may all single guys who read your article aspire to raise families GOD’s way!

  7. Thess-> Korek ka d’yan! Treasure them while you have them. Thanks mucho kapatid!

    Ate Joy-> i hope so. thanks for reading it. 🙂

  8. Dear Ms. LJ,

    This is a great post 🙂
    If not for the experience of His love, children from broken homes would not have been made whole.

    I did read your blog too! I liked that post on being a mother at fifteen 🙂

  9. thanks kuya kevin for sharing this!

    hi LJ! Small world tlga! Hehehe… I hope to see you in person… I am blessed by your story. Si Lord tlga, ibang level ang diskarte eh, He can turn around things (those things na pangit in our own perspective) into something really good and something that would bring glory to His name (Rom 8:28). Continue shinning for Him! Blessings to you cousin (err, actually I’m not sure kung tita ba kita or pinsan, hehe!)… 😀

  10. pampalakas ng loob nkakachallenge,when time come n may sariling pamilya ndin ako gagampnan ko itong mabuti sa abot ng aking makakaya.salamat ate LJ

  11. Jarrynarte,

    I had to remove your post because you included your email. I don’t want you to get spammed.

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