by Marion West
Psalm 119:20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
Growing up in Elberton, Georgia, my childhood was happy, except for one particular holiday. I dreaded it, pretended it didn’t exist, tried to ignore it. But no matter what I did, a secret longing remained in my heart: You can’t celebrate Father’s Day. Your father’s dead. You don’t even have a real memory of him.
As an adult I still couldn’t come to terms with that longing. I still wanted to celebrate Father’s Day with my own daddy.
Then, a few years ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution invited readers to submit memories of their father’s shoes and what the shoes had meant to them as children. My memory was as real as if it had happened yesterday.
I was about eight and accidentally discovered a pair of my father’s shoes hidden way back in my mother’s closet. My paper dolls suddenly forgotten, I touched the dusty shoes tenderly, examined them thoroughly in the sunlight, laced and unlaced them, and finally cradled one in each arm.
I mailed my memory to the newspaper because it satisfied something in me that I didn’t fully understand. Lo and behold, the newspaper sent a photographer to my house. He took pictures of me holding an eight-by-ten photograph of the father I’d never known.
That Father’s Day, I crept out before sunrise and found our newspaper in the driveway. There, in living color, was a picture of me with my father. And, for the first time, I genuinely celebrated Father’s Day.
Father, Your unexpected ways of healing are as remarkable as Your indescribable love.