To my dad -
I’m a person, not a weapon
To be used to fight your war.
You may lose me in the battle –
Will your winnings be worth more?
I’m your daughter – I am not a tool
With which to build your walls.
I cannot repair your damage,
Nor can I prevent your falls.
A mirror that is used to just
Reflect your ministry
Is what you wish that I’d portray,
But not what I can be.
If you must demand perfection,
And then use me for your sake;
You must know that pushing me away
For good is what’s at stake.
Can’t you see that I’m your little girl?
I don’t just bear your name.
I need love without condition;
I don’t need the awe and fame.
How I long to have a Daddy,
Instead of Judge or King!
How I’d love to feel the joy
Of your accepting me!
But I can’t make that happen;
I can only wish and pray
That you’ll let go of expectations
And be proud I’m “me” someday.
So as I’m used as ammunition
In this war you call “religion,”
Realize that the war has caused
Your lonely child’s confusion.
Yes, you may retain your kingdom
When it’s all been said and done;
But those who should have mattered most,
We will then be gone.
When the bodies have been counted,
When the fighting’s finally o’er;
Maybe then you’ll ask the question,
“Just what was the fighting for?”
Linda Murphrey, 1987 (age 30)