I just came back from a long, hard, good trip to Chicago, my hometown. The occasion was my father's memorial service, with some catching up in and around that event. This trip, more than any other, cemented the fact that "home" is gone and I don't get a do-over; however, only during this trip, too, was I finally OK with that ending.
I loved my earthly dad but in the end, I could not have a relationship with him. It cost us both too much. I love him still and hope more than anything that the restless man I knew is at peace. I have worn my fatherlessness since last November, when he died, like an ill-fitting garment. Sometimes it chafed, hitting too close to home. Sometimes, it was too airy with the unsettled differences still hovering between us. It's taken some getting used to but I've tried to keep my eye on God, tried to keep asking and listening and moving. Tried to keep living.
I smile to think I now have two Fathers in Heaven, totally, wildly different. I have ached to have a last conversation with my dad, one that worked, but now I just kinda of talk to him during the day, as I do with my other Father. I wish I could hear something back from either party, but I think it was Oswald Chambers who wrote that we grow to the point where God trusts us with His silences. Generally, I wish not to be so trustworthy in these types of situations, but for now, silence it is.
And in the midst of all this processing, life keeps happening: we continue growing ED in fits and starts, people come and go, my daughter gets taller and wiser, things are breaking left and right, friends suffer and celebrate and we keep shuffling left right left. But something has shifted in this latest process: I *know* without a doubt we're being watched over. Silently, with eyes that don't tire. The old vulnerability is gone. And I think that's one of the smallest and biggest things we can hope for in this world: To matter to someone else, but to also know the cost of aloneness and, therefore, develop the empathy to want to help pay someone else's way.
And that, in itself, can give life.