The best memories I have with my father are probably the worst. At about six or seven years old, I loved going shopping with my dad. Or at least that’s what I thought he was doing. He would always tell me to sit down in the middle of the cart whenever he got done shopping while he drove like a race car out of the store. As I screamed “faster, FASTER”, I disregarded the fact that he bypassed the cash register every time and that the cart was always full of Similac.
Truth is, I was too young to care back then. I only enjoyed the time I spent with my dad. I didn’t know his compulsive five finger discount would result in him being absent most of my life but that hadn’t been an issue until now. Now it’s had the time to fester and grow. His presence in my life, the imprint he made on me, the kind words and encouragement he bestowed in me, the hugs and kisses he left behind, and the love he had to give is neatly packed in a box of what ifs and if onlys. The painted picture of a perfect relationship with my dad was shattered a long time ago.
Sometimes I long for my dad to hold me, to get some fatherly advice every so often, to be told I am beautiful by someone other than my mother and close friends. Sometimes I want my dad to just be my dad. Often I see fathers and daughters in public and I almost get nauseous at the sight of them being happy together. Like they haven’t a care in the world. I’ve bottled up my feelings for so long that my true emotions can’t be reached. Tucked snug are my desires and hopes for a real relationship with my father. Dreams of my dad saying “I love you” and actually meaning it, plague my reverie. My heart aches because I want it so badly. I had developed a heart of coal for any man who tried to break down that barrier.
So far, the only one who’s successfully penetrated it is God. I was surprised I let him in. And it was easy. Up under that mountain of coal crowded around my heart was a small fragile heart of a little girl desperately wanting to be held, to know that everything is OK, to have the love of a dad who was never there. And that is exactly what I received from the Most High. My heart’s affection was set on being fulfilled by man when God is the only one who could fulfil the attention my heart craves, the acceptance I long for, the guidance I desire. Stability, security, and consistency is what Jesus gives, freely. Friends, it is OK to hurt and wonder why loved ones do anything but love you back. But, please, do not let this hurt breed bitterness. I must forgive the men in my life who did their best in trying to love me. And you must forgive those friends, family members, and past relationships that left scars on your memories and allow God to turn those same lies into life.