“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2nd Corinthians 6:18
The cross that marks my father’s grave is nothing but a broken tree branch lashed together with twine. Knee high weeds grow above the sunken ground where the rustic plywood casket lies. The last time I visited his grave was late at night, shivering from the cold, staring at the peeling bark with the help of flickering headlights. I stood there, breathing in the chill of a Tennessee Autumn, and once again I felt the longing.
What I missed, standing on that frigid hilltop, was not the physical presence of my father, it was what I had never gotten, what I would never get; the love of my father.
The hardest part is not accepting the truth about our lives, but living with a longing that may never be satisfied. The easier thing to do is stuff the ache somewhere deep down inside where we won’t visit it again because, in essence, a longing is something that tugs at our heartstrings and makes us hunger. But sometimes the visitation is an act of healing. We need to approach that cross on a hilltop and admit that we are empty, longing for our Father – our true Father. The longing is a good thing. A right thing. A painful thing. A healing thing.
Almost five years have passed since we lowered my father into his final resting place. The longing is not gone – will never be gone in fact – but the healing is well underway. The rustic cross above my dad’s grave, represents the truth that I do have a Father who loves me. I have a Father who will never leave me nor forsake me.
Ariel Allison is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at http://www.themoabclub.blogspot.com/ and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at http://www.arielallison.blogspot.com/.