Everything For A Reason Series Book One
Preacher's Lil Secret
by Julie Edgington
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including scanning, photocopying, or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder.
Copyright © 2013 Julie Edgington/ inner-chi LLC
This is the first short book of my Everything for a Reason Series. Follow me through my life as I search for meanings to lessons which have been presented to me. From the death of my Mother at a young age to the birth of my son who had to have open heart surgery at a week old I have learned everything in this world is unique and happens to teach us lessons. I offer a different point of view on the good and bad experiences of existing.
The first story in my series of Everything For a Reason monologue is about my dad... Even that word seems like it does not belong to me. It was a word I never owned enough to say it to anyone. I had a step dad for a few years, but I never called him dad. His name was La Vern, or Vern as I called him. He wasn't even close to being a dad.
I am going to start with my dad because everyone’s story begins with their parents. It would make more sense to start with my Mom since I loved her so much, but something in me wants to write about my dad. Maybe it will just make more sense in the stories that follow to let everyone know now he was physically nonexistent in my world. Also dad was the first real lesson I had given myself to learn in this life. He was in a sense the start of it all.
Although I thought about him sometimes I only questioned Mom about my dad one time when I was ten, I think. She didn't say anything other then
"You are smart just like he was."
Maybe the way she said it made me think my dad was dead. He was a lot older then her and had some liver problems maybe she thought by that time he had to be dead. Some how I was under the assumption that he had passed away before I was even born.
I did wonder at times about how he had died. Once I was asked by a friend where my dad was. I didn't know what to say except for he was dead. Then my friend asked how he had died. I said he was eaten by a shark. It was the only thing I could remember. It was from a dream I had once had. There was a man on a boat in the ocean and he was eaten by a shark. I think I had the dream after watching Jaws. It was the only thing I could think of at the time.
Life without a dad was O.K. I say it was O.K. because I didn't know any other way to be. I didn't know what it was like to know my dad or know what having a dad was like. You just can't miss what you don't know about. It was at the age of ten when I watched my friend interacting with her father, who was as close to a perfect dad as you could get, that I realized what I was missing. Which is what prompted me to question my Mother about my father.
Did not having a dad set me up for a lifetime of men problems and insecurities. How can you fall in love with a man when you have never had an example of what kind of man you want to fall in love with? Is this what has left me wondering who I am suppose to love.
So far my track history has been falling in love with the abuser/control freak (older then me by 5 years), then there was a man who saw me as a charity case and let me know he was up here and I was down there (older then me by 10 years), I fell in love with a compulsive liar ( younger then me by 7 years).
Last but, most certainly, not least there is the man who is 19 years older then me who I continually try to please just to have him act like he don't have the time of day for me. Interesting enough he is white haired, 6 ft 4 in. My dad was 6ft. 4in. and had white hair.
Yeah I'm screwed up when it comes to men. I crave and feel like I am starved for attention all the time. I guess this is why I decided to ask the question...
"Who is this person who thought I wasn't good enough to be his daughter? Who wasn't there to protect me when horrible bad things happened to me as a baby, a kid, teen and even an adult. Why did I choose before I came here to have this kind of dad?"
His name was Rev. Dr.Herbert Joesph Edgington. I don't know much about him, but I did have the guts to meet him once. I tried a couple of different times to contact him after I met him, but I was rejected. I even foolishly sent him a Father's day card one time.
Mom passed away when I was eleven years old. I had to go live with my oldest sister, Deb, and her husband. My sister and I didn't get along well. I was being a angry rotten teen. I didn't make things easy on my sister. It had been a few months after mom passed away. In , what I believe, was an attempt to make me behave my sister did something I could never forget. One day after school my sister and I arrived home. She got the mail as usual and there was a yellow envelope. She held it in front of my face and told me. " Right here in this envelope is information about where your father is. If you be a good girl I will tell you." I was in shock over it, but quickly dismissed it as her just being mean. I didn't even question my other sister and brother about it. I thought for sure it was a lie. In my mind there was just no way that someone could come back from the dead unless he was Jesus.
A few years later I started thinking about my dad quite a bit. I was in a real bad situation with my boyfriend. I had two kids, one when I was 15 the other when I was 19. The guy I was with was very abusive and controlling. I was hoping and praying for someone to save me. It was more like a day dream about having someone who loved and cared for me so much to save me from the pain.
I remember I was watching a talk show on T.V. one morning. It was about people who had found lost family members. There was one person who had found her dad. I happened to be talking to my sister, Cindy, on the phone at the time. She mentioned something about my dad still being alive. My sisters, brother and I have different dads.
It made me think about when Mom died and the rumors I had heard about my dad possibly being alive. I never thought in a billion years my Mom would have kept something so important from me. It wasn't until this moment I started to believe in the possibility.
What if I did have a dad? Could I have day dreamed my way out of this horrible life? Was there a chance of me having a almost normal life after all? I had so many questions. It felt impossible yet it could actually be happening. Me, having a dad!
I didn't really know where to start and this was before the Internet was so main stream. My sister hired a private investigator to search for my father. The PI gave her a list of people who had the same name as my father. The list included phone numbers and addresses.
My sister came and picked me up one day. My ex didn't allow me to drive let alone leave the house. I had to sneak out. Lucky for me my ex was actually working at the time which was a rarity. I went to my sisters house and her and my brother called all the numbers on the list.
There were quite a few numbers from all over the United States. They were down to the very last one. It was a number in Arkansas. My brother decided he would be the one to call it. I think somehow we all knew this was it. If it wasn't then I might never know the truth about my father being alive.
The phone rang a few times. It was loud enough that when someone picked up you could hear that it was a woman on the other end. My brother talked with the lady for a few minutes and then hung up the phone.
My brother explained to my sister and me what the woman had said. The man we were hoping was my father use to be there, but he no longer was with that church he had moved. My father had been a superintendent of schools, a teacher and so had the man this woman was talking about. She explained to my brother what the man she knew looked like. She had described my father.
The woman on the phone also told my brother the Joe, which is the name my father went by, she knew was a preacher now. He did preach at the church she was at now, but he had moved and was preaching in a church somewhere else. She gave my brother the new phone number to call.
My brother didn't waste anytime and called the number right away. I knew he was nervous. He could remember my dad the best because he was the oldest. He is ten years older then me and was nine the last time he had seen my dad. He remembered the person my Mom had left behind.
Again the phone rang a few times before anyone picked up. A man answered the phone this time. The look on my brothers face said it all. It was like he was instantly taken back to being nine years old again. My brother knew it was my dad and by the look on his face so did I.
I was in shock while I listen to my brother tell my dad that he had a daughter and I also knew something was wrong. It was like he was trying to convince my dad that he had been married to my Mom. On the other end of the phone the good ol' preacher was denying and lying about ever even knowing who my Mother was.
"I have to see him!"
I blurted out to my brother as soon as he got off the phone. We talked about my father denying having known Mom. It made me feel horrible. I couldn't believe that he would deny knowing her even after finding out she had passed away. I'm sure he was worried I would want money, but all I really ever wanted was to know who my dad was and for him to know me.
I felt devastated my dad was denying me. It wasn't the open arm welcoming I had wanted. I still wanted to meet him in person though. I don't know if I thought I could change his mind, or if I thought he would see me and know by looking at me that I am his daughter. Maybe I just wanted to sit in the same room with him and know for one second I was normal. The reason I guess didn't matter, but I knew I had to meet him.
My brother, his girlfriend, my boyfriend, my friend and I all went to Arkansas together. It was a 14 hour drive from where we live. I was going to meet my dad! I had pictures to show him of me when I was little, of my two little girls who were four and one at the time. I even had two pictures of him, which I had treated like gold my whole life. One of when he was getting his hair cut in California and another of him and my Mom at Fisherman’s Warf on their honeymoon.
The Rev. didn't know we were coming, but we went to his church on a Sunday since we were pretty sure he would be there on that day. I don't think he would ever have agreed to meet me if it was any other way. He had already lied about not being married to my mother.
The trip to Arkansas was horrible. It was long and my ex harassed me the whole way there. He was mean and nasty as usual which made me want to have a real dad even more. This was one of the most stressful things I had to ever do and he was mad because he felt like I was talking to my friend more then I was him.
Now that I think about it I am kind of glad I didn't have a dad to rescue me from the jerk because I learned on my own how to get away from him and that I never wanted someone to control me like that ever again. In reality I think it still would have been nice to have a dad's protection from the years of abuse my children and I suffered.
Despite my ex being his normal self I decided I was going to worry about me for once. I ignored him the best I could and tried to forget about the pure exhaustion I was feeling. My brother found the church my father preached at and we parked and waited for him to go in.
I had not really thought about what I was going to say to him. Something like
"Hi dad. It's a girl and she is 21 years old."
Just didn't seem right. I had not thought this whole thing through. I was nervous as hell and my father was a preacher! Before I knew it I spotted a very large man with a white preachers robe with very white hair and white beard. It was him! My brother was first out of the van. He walked straight up to my dad. My dad took one look at him and knew who my brother was even called him by his name.
I don't know where my brother got all the guts from. I am sure part of it was because he wanted to show this man who had been so threatening to him as a child that he was all grown up now. I let my bro take the lead. I was stuck to my seat. I could not move even if you would have told me the van was on fire.
It was too much for my mind to take. I could not believe I was just feet from my actual dad. It was like meeting a movie star. How was I going to face him. What if he didn't like me or worse what if he was ashamed of me. I did have my first baby when I was 15 years old and had my second at 19. I would never be ashamed of it because I took responsibility for my children, but what if he thought different.
All of a sudden I realized what it felt like to have a dad or any parent for that matter. It had been so long since I had to worry about what anyone thought of me. Mom had already been gone for 10 years. I wanted to run away and go back to my little house in Iowa, but I knew I still had to meet him.
My brother came back to the van and told us my dad was going to give his sermon and then we could meet him at his house across the street. I felt a little relief, but that didn't last long. The more I sat waiting the worse my fears became. I was scared to death and I felt like crying.
Before I knew it we were headed back toward the church and the pastors house. I was shaking so bad from being nervous. My stomach turned as I stepped out of the van. I wished I could forward time and be in that house already talking and getting to know each other. My dad and his wife came out to greet us.
I had always heard how tall my dad was, but to stand next to him took my breath away. He was bigger then life and this situation was beyond anything I had expected. I dreamed of this moment so many times. We went into his house and he sat us down at the dinning room table. He talked to me at one end of the table while his wife and my brother talked at the other end.
The only three things I remember about the conversation was 1. He used the word relations in reference to him and my mother's last time of having sex. It was the first time I had heard the word used in that sense and I thought it was a clever way to avoid the word sex. 2. He said my Mom slept around and there was no way he was my father.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was heart broken, but I didn't say anything. I just hoped my dad would forget he had even said that. Did he expected me to get up say ok I believe you are not my father and walk out never to think about it again?
The third thing I remember was my dad kept mentioning that he didn't have any money. He was down right blunt about how much he didn't have. I didn't tell him, but the P.I. my sister had hired had told us that my poor broke dad was building a house in Branson Missouri. I just kept reassuring him that I wasn't there for money. I just wanted to know who he was and I wanted to see if we could have a relationship.
As my dad talked I checked him out from head to toe. He still had his own teeth even at the age of sixty four. His teeth looked just like mine. The shape of his face, mine his hands, mine. Then he showed me pictures of his grand daughters and I gave him pictures of my girls. He asked if he could keep them and I let him.
For just a moment in there somewhere was my dad, the dad that knew I was his daughter. I saw it in his eyes when he looked at me and tried to see what features I got from him. We talked for just an hour or so. Well he did most of the talking and I just sat and listened to his voice. It was so comforting to know I was in there with my dad and the monster I lived with and the rest of the cruel world was outside.
Dad asked my brother and I if we could come back in a little while because he had some church business to take care of. We agreed we would be back. I got to the van and everything felt unreal. I had just talked to my dad, someone who I had thought was dead for the last 21 years.
I wasn't so nervous the second time my brother and I went back. I was so lucky to have my brother there with me. I could have never done it alone. My father kept throwing out dates he had last had "relations" with my mother trying to convince me he was not my father. He also tried to convince my brother and me he was never abusive to my mother.
According to my brother and sister they remembered him being very abusive. However I will give him the benefit of the doubt because they also said he was a alcoholic so he might not have recalled his abusive behavior.
Dad also went on about his accomplishments and explained how he became a preacher just a few years after my Mom left him. He had been married to his current wife for eighteen years. Then he talked more about his grandchildren and step grandchildren.
It was time to go back to the real world, but before we left he gave me a hug and said
"You are short just like your mother."
It brought me back to the time when Mom had told me I was smart just like my father. To both of them I was a memory of them together. I was a reminder of what once was. For once I was more then an abused, lost, sad girl. I was someone's memory of a love that was once so strong it took on a life of it's own and that life was me.
I got into the van and I watched out the window as we pulled away. I knew I would probably never see him again. I hoped he would realize he never wanted to live another day without knowing me. As we drove down the road I felt like I left a big part of myself behind. It hurt so bad and I was devastatingly lonely and disappointed.
The first Father's Day after we met I sent him a card even though I had not heard anything from him. It had been almost a year so I thought enough time had gone by and I should make the first move. He never replied and I am sure that card probably found it's way to the trash. I didn't contact him again until I had my fourth child who was born with a rare heart defect.
At the time I didn't know why my son was born with his heart defect. I wrote my dad about what had happened to my son. I asked him for family health history. I wanted to find answers as to why my son was born the way he was. This is the letter he sent ￼
For someone who didn't believe I was his he sure did share a lot of personal family history with me. To me it was as if he was saying I don't want to admit your my daughter, but since you are and since there is a baby with health problems involved I will give you what you need. It is the least I could do since I am really your father.
Did the guilt of denying me finally eat at him enough or was there a human being in there after all. The last sentence says
"Please respect that!" Where was my respect from him. How could he be so careless to create life then not own up to it.
I never contacted him again because I never wished him any harm. I just wanted to know who my dad was and I wanted him to know me. I wanted to have a dad who was mine. Someone I could share things with and even someone to love. I never wanted his money or to hurt him in anyway so I left it alone. Now he is gone and I will never get the chance to personally know him.
My father's obituary is the closest thing I have to knowing who he was. It says a lot of stuff about him including the names of my father's other children. I have x out everyone’s name because that is none of my business. His obituary reads:
Birth: Dec. 21, 1930
Missouri, USA Death: Mar. 4, 2010
Reverend Doctor Herbert J. 'Joe' Edgington
(December 21, 1930 - March 04, 2010)
The Reverend Doctor Herbert J. (Joe) Edgington was called to his heavenly father on March 4, 2010 at Boone County Hospital in Columbia, Mo., after a long illness of congestive heart failure and diabetes.
Joe was born on December 21, 1930, in rural Dade County near Everton, the second son of Charles and Tella Edgington, both who preceded him in death.
After an early start of elementary education in Pennsboro, Calif., his education was completed in the Ash Grove Schools, graduating there in 1948.
After graduating from Southwest Missouri State College, he began a 35 year teaching career at Hartville and Everton High Schools. He then returned to his beloved SMS, where he had been a successful college basketball player, to become an assistant Basketball Coach and Freshman Basketball Coach. He was an accomplished Biology and Science Teacher, and loved to coach and teach. California offered a continuing career in education in 1956, where he received his M.A. and Ed.D. Degrees from the University of Southern California.
He taught at the elementary and middle school levels, with principalships at both levels, an assistant superintendency, and superintendency. Edgington's extensive experience in education, also included Colorado Department of Education, a university professorship and private school development at the University of Miami, and Superintendent of Schools for the Arabian American Oil Company in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
One of his fondest memories of his career in international education was being honored by three foreign countries: The Republic of Mexico, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A world traveler, he always seemed to help children wherever he stopped, and one of his favorite stories was of supplying a school full of books to a little school (With an English teacher!), high in the Himalayas, near Kashmir, India, where he frequently vacationed.
Joe, a lifelong United Methodist layperson, accepted a call from the Lord to preach at the tender age of 56. Another degree (M. of Div.) was achieved while in the North Arkansas Conference of the church, where he spent eleven years in full time regular ministry, holding many district and state offices.
Ill health precipitated an early retirement to his native Missouri, where he has served the Avilla and Monett Liberty and New Liberty Churches since 1998. He was pastoring the two Monett churches in a retired capacity.
Edgington is survived by his beloved wife, xxxxx, who he gives credit for her assistance in both seminary and local pastorates; two daughters by a previous marriage, whom he credits with long awaited other descendants, xxxx and her husband xxxx, of Divide, Colo., xxxxxx of Woodland Park, Colo., and another daughter, xxxxx, of Springfield, Mo.; Four Granddaughters, xxxxxxx and husband xxxxxxx, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Caitlin and xxxxxxx of Woodland Park, Colo., and xxxxxxx, of Springfield, Mo.
His great pride during the past few years was directed to the birth of his two great-grandsons, xxxxx and xxxxxxx , of Colorado Springs, Colo. and now, a great granddaughter, xxxxxxxxxx, of Woodland Park, Colo.
Other survivors in the extended family include three step-sons, and three step-daughters, eighteen step grand-children, and eight step- great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Weng Funeral Home, Jasper, Mo.
A visitation service will be held at the Liberty United Methodist Church, northeast of Monett, on Tuesday evening, March 9, 2010, between 6 to 8 p.m., with the funeral service to be held at the church the following afternoon (Wednesday, March 10) at 2 p.m.
Burial will be in the Ray Spring Cemetery, south of Everton.
The family has requested, in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made to aide handicapped children at Camp Barnabas, 901 Private Road 2060, Pierce City, Mo., 65723.
Herbert Joe Edgington
(December 21, 1930 - March 04, 2010)
AURORA, Mo. — Herbert Joe Edgington, 79, a Methodist minister, passed away Thursday, March 4, 2010.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty United Methodist Church, Monett, Mo.
Burial will be in Ray Spring Cemetery, Everton, Mo.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Weng Funeral Chapel, Jasper, Mo.
Joplin Globe Death Notices
Published March 07, 2010 03:44 pm
Monday, March 07, 2010
Every time I read his obituary it makes my heart sink, but it is the closest thing I have to knowing who he is. I didn't exists to him. I don't even know what I was to him. It hurts to know there are people out there that wish you never existed and they don't even know who you are.
I may have been a mistake to my father, but how can you care for one child and not for another. It gets me every time to think he cared for children his whole life, children that were not even his yet he never even gave me a chance. I write this for all the children out there who didn't get to be good enough. Who despite being someone's mistake made it and know we are important. It is their loss to not know who we are. We are the strong ones because we have had to figure out life without their help.
I wish I would have had the guts to see him face to face one more time. I would have told him everything about me so he would have known he could be proud of who I am. Maybe it's not that he wasn't proud of me maybe he was ashamed of himself. Despite the fact he had denied me as his daughter I would have still let him into my life if he asked.
Everything for a reason point of view...
My thoughts about daddy issues created from this situation. They are mine. I know it sounds funny, but they are part of me and there are lessons I must learn from them. That is the one thing my father gave to me. I am a strong believer about being in control of choosing what lessons we have to learn when we come here.
Whatever lesson it is about my dad I am still learning it. I'm sure there are several. Because of my dad I have learned to survive on my own. I have learned to love and care for myself even when others won't. I have learned to give people a chance. I have learned when how to not give anymore chances. I have learned we choose who we love and it doesn't matter if they are family or not. I have learned regret. I have also learned to let go because no matter who you are you just can't make some people love you.
Most important I have learned I never want to make anyone especially my children to feel the way my father made me feel. I will, without a doubt, be there for them even during the hardest times. I will always be here for them to come home to until the day I die.
When my oldest daughters are in their teens my strength as a Mother is tested many times. My daughters hurt me in the worst way. I never denied them or gave up hope. I know it was because of the lesson my father had taught me. When they were ready I stood with open arms welcoming them back because they are mine.
As I sit here looking at my grandson I almost feel bad for my father who never knew what it was like to have his grandchildren or me in his life. He may not have ever wondered or cared about us, but I know what he has missed. Looking at my grandson who has already taught me so much I wonder what lesson was I for my father? Did he learn his lesson?
There are so many lessons I could go on, but you get the idea. If my dad likes it or not he still taught me a lot about life and about who I am from him. I may not have gotten the fond daddy daughter memories I so deeply crave, but I have something that can be even more cherished.
I have an understanding about how life works and I would have never came to that understanding if I knew my father. I know just when you think you have got it all figured out is when you haven't gotten a clue. You have to go with what you know right now at this moment, but also be open to change.
Everything is for a reason even if we don't like what has happened and miss what could have been. Life is your experience here don’t waste it! See struggles for what they are, which are lessons to be learned. I say S.T.U.CK stands for See The UCK. Once you can see what is keeping you from moving forward you will not be stuck anymore.
Because of this blog I have been contacted by someone who knew my father. I was told a lot about him and who he was. I was happy to find that even though I was not raised by him I have a lot of his good characteristics. I felt close to him as I was being told who he was. I understand we all have our flaws and I do forgive him. To me forgiving is just knowing you can't change what happened and you let go of what it is because you know it is what you choose to learn.
I think these people in our lives who have hurt us are the ones making a sacrifice. They are sacrificing being a loved, nice person to teach you a lesson you needed and wanted to learn. It would be so much easier to be well liked and not do things that hurt someone. Instead they do things that seem selfish and mean. Having this perspective makes forgiving a little easier.
Stay Tuned For More From My Everything For A Reason Series...