This column is an amended model of the essay Fountain wrote for the Nationwide Public Radio collection, “This I Consider.”

John Fountain used to be 18 while his father, pictured right here, used to be killed in a automotive twist of fate however because age four says his father were voluntarily absent.

I consider in God. Now not that cosmic, intangible spirit-in-the-sky that Mama informed me as just a little boy “all the time used to be and all the time will probably be.” However the God who embraced me while Daddy disappeared from our lives–from my lifestyles at age 4–the night time police led him clear of our entrance door, down the steps in handcuffs.

The God who warmed me once we may just see our breath inside of our freezing condo, the place the fuel used to be disconnected within the lifeless of some other wind-whipped Chicago wintry weather, and there used to be no meals, little wish and no scorching water.

The God who held my hand once I witnessed boys in my ‘hood swallowed through the weather, by way of dying and by way of hopelessness; who claimed me once I felt like “no-guy’s son,” amid the absence of any guy to wrap his palms round me and inform me, “the whole thing’s going to be k,” to talk proudly of me, to name me son.

I consider in God, God the Father, embodied in his Son Jesus Christ. The God who allowed me to really feel His presence–whether or not by way of the heat that crammed my stomach like scorching chocolate on a chilly afternoon, or that voice, each time I discovered myself within the tempest of lifestyles’s storms, telling me (even if I used to be advised I used to be “not anything”) that I used to be one thing, that I used to be His, and that even amid the desertion of the person who gave me his identify and DNA and little else, I would possibly in finding in Him sustenance.

I consider in God, the God who I’ve come to understand as father, as Abba–Daddy.

I all the time envied boys I noticed strolling hand-in-hand with their fathers. I thirsted for the conversations fathers and sons have concerning the birds and the bees, or approximately not anything in any respect–merely feeling his breath, heartbeat, presence.

I were advised approximately my father’s consuming drawback and felt greater than someone the void created through his absence: from faculty assemblies the place I won awards, at graduations and church performs and in any respect of the ones irredeemable moments that happen in a bit boy’s lifestyles.

Nonetheless, it mattered now not that Daddy used to be “no just right,” as I used to be advised, nor that the bodily portrait of him that had as soon as existed in my thoughts through my teenage years had lengthy pale. What mattered used to be that he used to be my dad. And I used to be his son.

That reality on my own drew me to him. It additionally made paternal rejection my move to undergo as his son.

As a boy, I used to take a seat at the entrance porch of our condo, gazing the automobiles roll via, imagining that at last someday, one might park and the person getting out can be my daddy. However it by no means came about.

While I used to be 18, I may just in finding no tears that Alabama wintry weather’s night in January 1979, as I stood in a small church in spite of everything–head to head–with my father, mendacity chilly in a casket, his eyes sealed, his center now not beating, his breath perpetually stilled.

Killed in a automotive twist of fate, he died under the influence of alcohol, leaving me hobbled through the sorrow of years of fatherlessness.

Through then it were years seeing that Mama had summoned the police to our rental that night time, fearing that Daddy would possibly harm her–hit her–once more. In any case, his alcoholism fed on what just right there used to be of him till it swallowed him entire.

It wasn’t till a few years later, status over my father’s grave for an extended past due dialog that my tears flowed.

I advised him concerning the guy I had transform.

I informed him approximately how so much I wanted he were in my lifestyles. And I noticed absolutely that during his absence, I had discovered some other. Or that He–God, the Father, God, my Father–had discovered me.

To hear Fountain’s “This I Consider Essay,” click on right here



Fountain’s guide, “Pricey Dad: Reflections on Fatherhood,” used to be impressed via his NPR essay.

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