My dad’s birthday was on the 1st of September.
Same day as his father’s all those years ago.
It’s been close to 40 years since he last heard the sound of his own father’s voice and over 5 years since I’ve heard the sound of his own – since our relationship reached the breaking point and everything crumbled and fell apart.
And I want to hold these words carefully and tenderly because I haven’t always done so.
I write these words as a marking.
As a recognizing.
Not to shame or point fingers, but to hold what is wounded to the Light.
I spent years leading up to the first babies wondering which day would mark their births – what ordinary day would become extraordinary that I didn’t know just yet…and so dates on the calendar hold weight for me. They always have.
I don’t expect that to change.
There are days that heave with grief, and ones that fairly explode with joy and those square boxes on the pages of the planner in front of me are more than just blanks to hold words and names and appointments that I pen in. They hold deep emotions that mere ink can’t convey while tears evaporate, leaving only wrinkled blots behind.
Elias, he sits behind me in the van around 10 this morning asking a hundred questions in 60 seconds and I smile as I try to keep up. He asks me if we are going to Madison House today. And then he asks when we are going to church…when our next day off is. When Christmas will be.
And I listen to him as he processes his days.
It’s all so innocent.
He’s not aware of the wars that are raging, of the people who are fleeing and the little ones who are dying and washing up on shore.
He’s not aware yet that the news is hard to sit in front of, that the never ending stream of words sinks fear deeper and deeper into air already so emotionally charged.
He just knows that Sunday is church and Friday is for incentives at Madison House and Saturday mama really, really wants to sleep in.
This past week, as the air has been getting cooler and dark clouds mark the sky above us, our yard has been full of little ones after the Madison House doors have closed for the day. I’ve sat inside near the big front window to keep an eye on the craziness of the “restaurant” that has set up residence on our porch. Everything is whirling in the middle of their play and I miss the quiet conversation happening just down our front steps.
There’s a little girl who has latched on to my oldest girl and they sit and whisper secrets and learn what it means to speak from the heart. This little one, her daddy has died and there are a lot of fears that rip at her heart and this is what she shared with my daughter.
Lyla, who has only ever known the presence and love of a father, she asks quietly if her friend knows who Jesus is.
There’s only a small shaking of the head.
So, in her soft way, Lyla offers to pray with the one sitting beside her, offers to help the fatherless find her Father and while the air is full of yelling, a little one opens her heart up to the Love of Jesus and she is no longer lost, but found.
The ground all around us is holy.
I don’t know how long it’s been now since I first came across these words, but something deep resonated inside of my soul when I first read them.
Each month, I print out the pages and I place them up on my wall and when everything starts to tilt, when fear creeps in and I find myself overwhelmed, I grab onto the words of who Jesus is.
It was on that last day of August that I reached for the paper still warm from the printer and as I picked it up, my breath caught –
Beside the 1st of September were the words, My Daddy.
The day marked already by so many emotions, I stopped.
It’s a day marked by the birth of a man who carries the title of father,
and the tears of a daughter who sits in front of that large front window wondering.
And Jesus, in His tender, merciful way calls to the deep in me that feels as though it is sinking and causes my swirling thoughts to slow, to recognize this day and this man as created by a Holy God – and then to turn my heart to the One Who calls me child because of wholly undeserved grace and kindness.
I think of the unfathomable-ness of God – how Isaiah trembled over the vision of Him and the train of that robe that filled the temple. How he crumpled to the ground because he couldn’t bear the weight of such glory…this is Who calls me daughter. This is Who calls me to love and serve outside of what makes me comfortable.
This is He Who marks my days, both the ordinary *and* the extraordinary, not merely with words, but by His very presence.
Each day should bring my eyes to this fact first – God Himself is my Father and everything else rests on this foundation.
It’s Friday today, which means a late evening with loud games and louder laughter filling the halls of Madison House before we head home for the weekend and rest.
But in the middle of it all is One Who is drawing us all to Himself,
and all the sons and daughters are finding their way Home…
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2