Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday's Meditation

It must have been about a year ago, my daughter was not quite yet two. She and I walked to the park on the lake near our home. Her short little legs stumbled over each bump as we made our way down the trail, away from the park.

With an air of curious excitement, she led me by my hand to, what was for her, new and wonderful pieces of creation. We stopped to pick rocks out of the dirt. We looked at footprints in the mud. She smelled the prickly bushes along the trail. I taught her how to throw rocks into the water watch as the ripples stretched from their epicenter toward the beach where we stood.

Eventually, she took her little hand from mine and began exploring the trail ahead, but always within my eyesight. My heart fluttered in my chest with each clumsy attempt at exploration, wanting for her to stay safe.
And even though I'd walked this trail many times, joy surrounded me as my daughter shared each of her wonderful findings with me.

I had made the comment on one of Expat's posts last week that I believed that marriage is intended to make us holy - that marriage is a sacrament: something that is intended to draw us nearer to God and create in us a little more of Jesus. I believe the same is true of raising children. Through this simple walk with my daughter on that wintry day, I caught a glimpse of how God sees me: how he delights in holding my hand as we walk through life; how he cherishes my interaction with him; how he prizes my discoveries. By being a father, I'm learning how to be a child again. I'm learning when to hold Daddy's hand and when to walk on my own. I'm learning how to say I'm sorry. I'm learning how to listen, that when Daddy calls, it's for my own good. I'm learning how to use my words - that when I'm scared, angry, or happy, I need to say that. In some ways, when my daughter was born, I also was born.

Dear God, thank you so much for loving us as a father loves his child. Thank you that you are nearer to us than the air we breathe. Thank you for holding our hands when we reach for you. Thank you for letting us go so we can face challenges and grow.