By the time I understood what my father had taken away when he left me, I was a father too. I pridefully worked two jobs and boasted he barely ever held one. This man I was supposed to learn from preferred to sit in jail rather than pony up some dough to help my mom and me out.
This man took the cross off his back and laid it on mine. Each and every time I looked in the mirror I would see his face and worry that I’d turn out to be as selfish as he was. Ruinous little man, you shook free from me and left a big empty space.
So I filled myself up with resentment, leaving little room in me to consider my own ways. Our lives had taken different turns but our paths began to look the same. Rarely do people turn around once pride has covered the path behind them. Repentance is the long slog back over the rubble we laid. You don’t have that chance anymore, Dad.
Flimsy little men of dust and ash, that’s all we are. Owing a debt to each other that’s impossible on our own to pay. Relinquishing hate to take on the debt of love reminds me of how weak I am. God help me. I need all the help I can get. Vanity and trespasses are my stock-in-trade. Every man needs forgiveness, especially me.
Rest now, dad. I will pray for you. Please pray for me.
Travis Jones is a blue collar dad filling up his journal for his girls. He last article was “Will We Have Family Waiting When We Die?” You can find all his articles here, including his reflection on having cancer.