I can really get into symbolism and most of the time it's a good thing. It helps me engrave certain things into my memory cells that I never want to forget. There is a room in my house that now has new meaning. It holds precious memories for me that I never want to forget.
My dad came to live with me in the fall of 2010 due to a terminal illness. He was able to take care of himself in the beginning. He took up residence in my guest room, which is on the second floor of my home. He was a widower for the second time, and a very independent one at that, but we blended well and life hummed along till his health began to decline just a couple of months after he arrived.
We decided, to his utter dismay, that he should move downstairs. I thought he was going to have a hissy fit, as we say in the south when we don't get our way. But, he finally agreed, and we converted the piano/living room into his bedroom. I decorated it in a manly fashion, for he was particular in that way. Life settled down and he was happy and content...yes, happy and content even though he battled a deadly disease. He was surrounded by love...a family who loved him, a church family who reached out to him, friends who kept in touch...he was happy.
As his health continued to decline, we talked of life, of mistakes made, and of the way he wished he'd done things differently. We shared memories of his one true love, my mom, and he told me things I never knew. He asked for forgiveness. I forgave.
That room is where he lived for many months until his glorious home going in August of 2011. It took awhile to clean everything out. When someone lives with you and your family they become an intimate part of your routine. We took care of his every need and when he was gone there was an emptiness...a void...except for his personal belongings.
Little by little I put the room back the way it was before he came...except for the shoes. He was so neat about the way he lined up his shoes, side by side. I decided to keep the shoes he wore every day. It just seemed fitting that they remain just where he left them. A reminder to me of his presence in that room.
For some is may seem silly, but for me, they are a reminder of my blessed year with my precious Daddy...the one who held me first and the one whose hand I was holding as he looked into the face of Jesus his Savior.
Whenever I walk into that room I am instantly reminded of a faithful God Who gave me a year to love my earthly father, care for him as he died, give him a home and then receive the greatest gift in return...the gift of forgiveness.
I never want to forget that gift.