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Saturday, June 21, 2014
For me, and an unfortunately high and increasing number of others, Father’s Day is hard to celebrate. My story is fairly unique in that I was conceived through date-rape and was lovingly raised by my birthmother. My father does not know of my existence but I do know he was married at the time of the rape. The weirdness of not having a dad faded as I entered puberty and grew to understand my unique family unit. However, I wouldn’t understand exactly how unique until I was 18, when my mom told me the truth of her abuse. Despite the weirdness, I never felt overwhelmed by pain on Father’s Day because I knew my mom loved me and God saw me as inherently valuable.
My mom did an amazing job raising me. She selflessly did the job of both parents to the best of her ability. She was protective, limiting negative media influence and providing positive male role models. She was selfless, orienting her life around caring for me while working a full-time job. She was nurturing, guiding me towards treating women with respect and becoming someone who could love his spouse well. Though I cannot picture God as a father, I look forward to the day when I get to be one. It is a task I feel uniquely purposed for. Furthermore, I cannot believe the purpose of my life is shallow enough to encompass luck; I feel a yoke of responsibility for this great gift of life I have been afforded, a gift that millions of others have had stolen away. I must use my voice to promote peace, justice, understanding and faith.
If I could say something to my father it would be, “I forgive you.” Though I’ve heard many people tell me I “deserve” to hate him or even tell his family of his past and ruin their lives, I do not see it that way. As a no exceptions pro-lifer, I must treat those conceived in rape with equal amounts of respect as their fathers, who have the same inherent value. I do make a thorough distinction between finding such violent actions wholly abhorrent and taking justice into my own hands. It is not for me to exact revenge; that is the government’s job on Earth and God’s job after it. All I can do is pray for the best for my father, seeking God’s goodness and influence in his life. As a compelling example of Jesus, my mother has taught me to experience and extend God’s forgiveness, not dwell in bitter anger. God’s call on my life is too valuable to waste time hating my father on Father’s Day.
My name is Nicholas Charles D’Angelo, and my mother chose life for me.