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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Rejection (11/15/04)

TITLE: I Try To Imagine
By Jackie McCauley


I try to imagine what it would have been like if he could see how much I needed him to love me.

He would have noticed when I was four years old and wore the blue dress that Mom bought for me at the goodwill store. A bridesmaid’s dress, with lace and flowers, I think. Watching my reflection in the mirror as the ruffles floated out above my knees, I could twirl for hours. He tells me how beautiful I am. He does not tell me to sit down so he can see the game and to take off the stupid dress because it is way too big for me.

I imagine him scooping me up when I broke my leg at the skating rink when I was nine. His graying whiskers touch my cheek and he whispers, “It’s okay, Daddy’s here!” He tells me I’ll be fine and my leg will heal and the pain will go away. He does not call me careless and stupid. He does not complain about the doctor bills.

I imagine him coming to my side in eighth grade when my science project was due. He tells the teacher and everyone in the room that the lopsided dinosaur is truly magnificent and in fact, he did not forget to buy the science project display board. He tells everyone I deserve an “A+.” He does not call me stupid and yell at me when I get a “C” instead.

I can feel his arm on my shoulder when I am sixteen. He tells me that I am beautiful and that I do not have to give in. He tells me to wait, to trust, to hope. He buys me a blue dress with flowers and we talk about college and the future. He does not tell me that I am disgraceful. He does not tell me that I cannot stay in his home.

I imagine his embrace when I am twenty-four. He tells me that nothing is worth dying for. He tells me that the pain will go away, my heart will heal. He tells me that I am beautiful and that he loves me. He tells me that I have so much to live for and that Jesus loves me. He does not swear and yell and tell me that I have embarrassed him.

I imagine his pride when I walk across the stage when I am thirty-two. When I give the valedictory address, he takes pictures and gives me roses and tells me that he is so proud of me. He does not look into my eyes and tell me that I am too old for such nonsense. He does not tell me that if I had any sense when I was a kid I wouldn’t have got knocked up.

I imagine him bouncing his grandson on his knee. He ruffles his hair and plans a fishing trip. He goes to church with us and eats Sunday dinner since Mom is gone. I make his favorite dessert and we laugh and talk about politics and books. He tells me that I am beautiful and he is proud of my work and my home. He does not call once a month and ask me if I am still with that loser and call my son a brat.

I arrange the blue flowers in front of the carefully chosen stone. Like most of the others, the stone is simple, bearing my parent’s names and their dates of birth and death engraved in plain letters. Since my dad was a carpenter, the statement on a nearby decorative garden stone bearing the carving of a builder’s block seems particularly penetrating: “Words are the building blocks of a life. These have all been spoken.”

Thankfully, the eternal Words of hope and healing grace spoken by another Father, also a carpenter, have healed my heart but at times I still wonder...

...what it would have been like if he could see how much I needed him to love me.

Member Comments
Member Date
Marjorie Arrowood11/22/04
I am speechless. Calling this beautiful sadness seems like an oximoron, but it has touched me deeply.
darlene hight11/22/04
Beautiful! Powerful! It really touched my heart.
Kathy Cartee11/22/04
Heart felt and beautiful!
Speaks to the heart of so many women today.
Karri Compton11/22/04
Very well done. It's so sad that girls often don't receive love from their earthly fathers. I noticed the repeated use of the color blue and wondered the significance. I almost think it was overdone because I can't equate it with a reason. Anyway, wonderful job with the topic. Blessings, Karri
Angie Schulte11/22/04
You got my vote. This was absolutely amazing. Very beautifully done!
linda g sullivan11/24/04
I was absolutely mesmerized-what a prolific piece. So heartfelt and so very real,one can tell surely at sometime is must have been truly horrific. And yet, the loving grace of our heavenly Father can most assuredly be seen, heard and even more importantly-felt...
Again, simply fantastic!
Norma OGrady11/24/04
You really did a GOOD job on this story!
Yeshua bless
Deborah Anderson11/24/04
Very touching. God bless you.
Linda Germain 11/25/04
Jackie, Someone I know buried his father two weeks ago. The son, at 52, was broken hearted, not for the loss of the old man's life, but because even until the END he refused to tell the son he loved him. That is all he ever wanted to hear. WOW, except for the parts about the dress, this could be his lament as well...and sadly, a large population of others. I am very touched. ~LG~
Dave Wagner11/28/04
Exceptional in every facet. Rare. Thank you for posting this.
Debbie OConnor11/28/04
Wow! A powerful, moving, wonderfully written entry. Great job. Thank God we have a Father who does realize how much we need Him to love us, and who does it perfectly.
Deborah Porter 12/01/04
Absolutely overwhelming Jackie. My heart broke as I read it. There's nothing I could say. Painfully perfect to the very last word. With love, Deb
Nina Phillips07/03/05
Jackie, I was so touched by your commentary and the depth of your heart being shared openly through those very warm expressions, carefully tended.
Michelle Burkhardt07/04/05
Powerful story. Well deserved win. Imagine a better life than the one she had. Parents just don't seem to see the pain they can cause for years. Thank God, He can heal us.
Madonna Hooper07/04/05

Congratulations! So much truth contained here in a well-written piece. I love your realization that even though God's love heals and redeems it is still natural to have wanted that earthly, fatherly love.
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/04/05
Wow, this was really touching and well written. Well deserved win!
Tammy Johnson07/06/05
So sad! Wonderful way of telling the story!
Debbie OConnor07/06/05
This is one of a handful of challenge winners that haunted me through the year. So beautifully done. Congratulations!
Jennifer Kulhanjian06/13/06
I found this piece so poignant that I shared it with some dear friends who "missed" their fathers. Well-written, & I liked the trail of blue flowers.
Crista Darr07/12/06
This is such a powerful story. I pray that you will submit this elsewhere. I can only imagine the ministry God intends for this piece. Outstanding!
Indrani Kandasamy07/26/06
Its wonderful..Reminds me a lot of things. Touched my heart deeply.
khabi tsagae08/04/06