The other day at an Art Show I was dumbstruck. This Dad stood there holding his baby child. Boy or girl--who knows? Yet the delight on his face kept me going all day long. I hope that through the years he can keep that delight front and center. It won't be easy. Life intrudes in many ways. Marriage. Health. Money. Job. A crazy mixed-up world.
Many Daddies fail the test. They get lost in the shuffle of too many things. Sometimes in the evening I watch them at a restaurant. A Daddy with one or two children. There is no wedding band on his hand. Probably divorced. Obviously this is Dad's Night Out. The kids are squirmy sometimes. He shakes his head. Sometimes they drop some food on the floor and make a mess. The Father scowls. They sit there munching on whatever they order. He keeps looking at his watch. He is eyes follow the waitress. He could be a million miles away.
A preacher-friend of mine tells there story of his nine-year old daughter. He got home late from work. As he opened the door his little girl ran and grabbed him by the legs saying: "Daddy...Daddy!" He held her tight on the couch and told her that the next night he had to go speak to a group at the church on, of all things: "What A Good Ought to Be" Her face fell. So he caught himself and told her he needed help on what he should say about a good father. "Let's make a list--you can help." She took a pencil and paper and began to write. It took her quite a while. She handed the list to him--and this is what he read:
1. Catch a fish.
2. Build a fire.
3. Fly a kite.
4. Catch a butterfly.
5. Plant a flower.
6. Get a kitty-cat out of the mud.
As the Daddy studied the list he realized there was nothing on the list that required money. Everything she put down required a Daddy.
Any of us Father-types with years on us look back with some regret. Sometimes we give so much of ourselves at work or wherever that there is little left of us when we get home. I am amazed at the forgiving power of many of our children. Mine especially.
Back to the Papa in the picture. Dear God, as his tiny one grows up--may his little one always feel the gift of delight from his Daddy. It isn't easy in this world of too-much-of-everything to give ourselves away--but may that little baby know deep in his/her heart that there was a Father that always made her/him feel glad that she or he was there. Amen.
Such love carries any of us to the finish line with the greatest gift of them all: delight.
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com