As I drove to the office alone in my truck with only my thoughts, I smiled at the blue sky that seemed to go on forever. A lone puffy white cloud held its point in the sky allowing the sun and wind to move it, but not change its purpose. For a moment I wondered why this day with its crisp cool air was any different than that of a winter day. Spring is ending in Wisconsin and Father’s Day is almost here. I looked back at the sky and breathed in the air deeply enjoying the moment in wonder at God’s incredible power and splendor. I began to appreciate more how much He has given me and allowed me to see. This day is just another gracious gift from the Almighty. My mind then drifted to other gifts He has given me.
I thought of my son whom I left laying on the couch sleeping off his first day of Summer Break. While he lay there, I kissed his cheek and hugged him whispering how much I love him. His eyes opened slightly with a struggle and he whispered back, “I love you too.” Then he rolled over and fell back to sleep.
Now as I continue to drive with all of God's wonder around me, I could feel that love I have for my son. I could feel comfort, safety and joy within me. I could feel what he must be feeling also. I longed to turn my truck around, go back and hug him again and spend the rest of the day with him. That is how I feel about all 5 of my children. And then it hit me.
So obvious and simple was it that I could not see it before. It was within me the whole time and I was looking outside for it. I was looking at the sky and the clouds; the trees and the river rushing under me. I was looking for it in a hug from my son, words from my daughter; praise from my wife. There it was in my heart all along.
I said it out loud to myself. “If I can imagine how good my son feels to know that I love him completely, then know that the same love I have for my son, God has for all of His children. God loves me the same way and greater. He gave his son for me. That’s love. Stop searching for love outside of you and deepen the love that is within you.”
As the words hit the air a sense of complete joy filled me. I have been searching since age 5 for a love from my father that I assumed I never received. I searched in so many others, finally understanding that they could not give it to me. They could only give me their love; they could not replace my father’s love. Then in the moments it takes for me to drive over a bridge God’s message to seek out His love, my Father in heaven’s love, finally hit me and I understood. I know there will be days in the future when I will doubt again.
I will work hard to think back on this moment and know that God loves me as I love my children. Father’s Day was just two days away. How would I use this new lesson?
On Father’s Day, I was tempted to do my typical Father’s Day activities getting away from my children and spending my time with me doing what I want – golfing, working out and having others serve me. Instead, I listened to my wife and used that day to spend more time with my children.
We drove to the donut store together and picked out donuts for breakfast. We made an agreement to put the iPods away for the day. We made eggs for breakfast and cleaned up together. We went to the golfing range together and all of us hit balls together. We went to the community pool and swam together. We went to Grandma’s house and grilled together, played with the dog together and played in the backyard together. When we came home, we cuddled on the couch together and fell asleep together. I am confident that we dreamed together before waking up together. It was a perfect day spent WITH my children as a Dad, not alone celebrating my time without my children.
It seemed perfect and yet something was missing. Then I realized the day wasn’t complete. I spent time with myself reading more of the Bible early in the morning and talking to God strengthening my relationship with Him. I missed the opportunity to spend this time with God and my children together helping them develop a stronger relationship with Him and not just with me. God wants to spend time with all of His children. He provides the most precious gifts we have and all he asks is for us to appreciate, love and follow His word. Don’t all of us as fathers want the same? I’ll work on that God!