Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

It's been a while. Three years to be exact. Three years since you were sick, since you were not well, since things didn't work out the way we planned. You couldn't save yourself, no one could. I sat in that waiting room, knuckles white and feet pacing. Tears I couldn't cry because how can you? Pain that cuts like a knife and gets deep down to the core. Something was taken from me. It wasn't mine, but I loved it and I wanted it to be.

I just wanted to let you know I miss you. Deep down in my bones miss you. The kind of miss you that aches and tears like a sore muscle but you like to stretch it out and feel the pain because at least there's something to feel. It's not fair. Nothing about this is fair. Soon I will do more life without you than I've done with you and that's terrifying. Do you know how scary it is to do this without you? To not have my biggest fan, my cheerleader, my superhero. My heart cries out "this isn't fair. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen."

And yet it did. Where is the line? How is it possible that a person's life can be simmered down to memories and stories. Is that enough? Or is it way too much. Stories are the most beautiful of creatures and they're so hard to tame. Am I remembering too often or not enough? Am I sad am I guilty am I happy am I whole? When I think about you leaving me I am quite simply undone. I am consumed and overwhelmed and it seems wrong yet so very right. You are more than pictures in my mind or the stories we tell. You are a legacy.

I can feel that legacy. A man who no longer plays a part of my life is quite simply who I'm becoming. Would you be able to see it? I am my father's daughter. If you know me you know my father. It is scary and wonderful and it's happening before my eyes. The jokes you tell, the way you didn't care, your restlessness. It's weaving itself into the very fabric of my being, stitched together with a tender and caring Hand that knows exactly how hard to pull, exactly where to cut, exactly how to create a masterpiece.

On Sundays I cry when we worship because I can feel your legacy. For those few songs you and I are together as one doing the very thing we were made to do. We were made for this. We were made to give glory and praise and in the core of who I am I can hear you sing with me. You sing with me because you sang before me and you'll sing forever more. It is the most beautiful pain I could ever know. You get to sit at the throne and sing it for real, I only hum a faint tune. But when they come together it is more than I can take. I can feel the baton and I'm hesitant to pick it up. Yet you urge and prod and pass it on.

Despite the fact that I miss you, despite the fact that I'm tempted to let grief swallow me whole I must tell you a secret. It's the best secret I've ever known and every as the tears stain my keyboard I can feel my secret bringing a smile. Over the stones of my sadness, of the rocks of my pain, there is a deep, rushing, overpowering river of joy. It is the joy that is set before me that one day I won't sit in the waiting room any longer. My white knuckles and clenched fists will open up and I'll raise my hands in reckless abandon. I will be with both my heavenly Father and my earthly father. It is this flickering light of hope that bursts through on the darkest nights of my soul. The hope of restoration. The hope of resurrection. The hope that one day my legacy will carry me home and we will sing together. Promise me we will sing. Promise me we will dance. The dances that used to embarrass me because you were so full of life and I was not. The dance we will have missed on my wedding day.

I can feel that life growing in me, I can feel that light. So I will cling to the promises of Jesus Christ, my hope and joy and peace. I will cherish the agony of that waiting room I've been sitting in for three years now. I know that despite the heavy news we heard there is Good News that awaits me. May the Father come back so that my father can too. Both of you- promise me to dance.