You Abused and Oppressed Me, Dad. I Forgive You.

How a community’s example of radical forgiveness helped me relinquish my own rage.

Father’s Day is a multibillion-dollar affair. In the weeks leading up to it, men’s ties, BBQ aprons, and golf-themed gifts fly off the shelves.

My own view on Father’s Day has a complicated history. After an abusive, impoverished childhood (detailed in my recent memoir, Motorhome Prophecies), I sometimes felt an anger toward my dad as intense as what Salvador Dalí, the Spanish surrealist painter, felt toward his own father.

I first fell in love with this brilliant artist while visiting a museum dedicated to his work in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s a futuristic, fantastical building filled with spacious, airy light flowing through a glass atrium entryway attached to 18-inch thick concrete. It’s a captivating and fitting home for this revolutionary man who pushed the boundaries intersecting art, science, and metaphysics.

Dalí clashed for decades with his father, a mid-level civil servant who didn’t appreciate his son’s creative, rebellious nature or his association with the surrealist movement. Adding insult to injury, he disapproved of his son’s muse and future wife, Gala. Dalí said he considered his true father to be psychologist Sigmund Freud, and later, quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg. Legend has it that Dalí gave his biological father a condom containing the artist’s own sperm, exclaiming, “Take that. I owe you nothing anymore!”

Obviously, that’s disgusting. But I confess there was a time in my life when I might have considered buying a sperm sample from a donor bank and sending it to my dad. I thought he’d die before I’d ever speak to him again.

God’s healing balm

As I shared earlier this year for …

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