One of my fondest memories is of my dad teaching me how to waltz. I would’ve been seven or eight years old at the time. I would put my feet on top of his and reach up so he could hold onto my arms. Then we would “waltz” around the room to whatever music was playing – probably Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, which was one of dad’s favorites. Most of the time, I would be looking down at my feet and I would look up once in a while to see him smiling down, telling me how well I was doing. But what happens when there are those who don’t have those kinds of memories?
Every few months, I share my story and some of my experiences with high school students. One of the things that I talk about is ‘father pain’ and how it can manifest in a person’s life, which can include not wanting to have anything to do with our spiritual Father. Yes, I had a great dad. He and my mom had adopted me when I was a baby. But deep in my heart, I knew my first father didn’t want me. There is no doubt that I was emotionally scarred. Once I was able to work through it, I could see it clearly in so many other people.
Sometimes, I meet with a student after a presentation. I always know there is a force trying extra hard to keep someone from hearing the message. The power will go out, someone’s phone will keep ringing, the fire alarm will go off, the photocopier in the room will start, the audio portion of a video I show won’t work, etc., etc., etc.
I remember one student in particular from a few years ago. Within a few minutes, she shared some of the trauma she had experienced in her young life – things that no one should have to endure. I asked a question that I don’t usually ask right away. “Are you cutting?” She shyly rolled up one of the sleeves of the long-sleeved shirt she was wearing. Then with her eyes still cast downward, she rolled up the other one. “I also have scars on my legs from where I’ve received stitches after trying to carve words…,” she said quietly.
“What kind of relationship do you have with your father?”
“I’ve only met him once.”
I could feel the tears welling in my eyes as I tried desperately to hold them back. “I am so sorry for everything that you’ve had to go through…”
That’s when her tears started to flow. “No one has ever said that to me before…”
Then the anger started. “I hate God for everything that has happened to me. I’ve prayed and He’s never answered!”
“I’m here,” I said. “You prayed. God has answered. I’m here. And I want to help you.”
We arranged to meet again, but she didn’t show. I was not surprised. One of her core beliefs is that she can’t count on anyone, let alone God.
I still pray for her. I pray that one day, she steps onto her Father’s feet.
As for me, I’m standing on my own two feet, looking deep into His eyes as He guides me around the dance-floor. Sometimes, I’m in perfect rhythm and harmony to His music. Other times, I need to step back onto His feet because I’ve lost my way or when life is Not so wonderful. He is always there, eagerly waiting to show me a new step…