We gather to celebrate the years.
We hope for more of them. And even though he still fights the insidious cancer monster, he remains pain free, and we give thanks.
The family drifts in from scattered places, and we fill our plates with the roast beef, the green beans, and the stuffed eggs. We are stuffed with joy.
He doesn’t say much, but we hear a familiar story or two.
And then, this patriarch leans back, and surveys these ones he calls family.
Reaching past the cobwebs of lupron induced memory loss, he gathers the words and says, “Back when I was a barefoot boy plowing with a mule feeling the fresh turned earth under my feet, I never dreamed so many years later I’d be sitting here at this table with all of you. I’m about the luckiest man in the world.”
We fight back the tears.
He rises from his chair and comes to where I’m sitting, and leans over me and hugs tight. “Thank you,” he says. “Thank you for all of this.”
Then he makes his way to the other side of the table and wraps my sister in his arms.
And my sister and I, we want to press pause on the moment. Keep it close. Look at it again and again. It passes, but we witness it for each other, and we will testify to this Father’s love.
And from this moment on, if we need an earthly reminder of our heavenly Father’s love, we can point to moments around a cake ablaze with years, a daddy bent over his girls, and see we are held and protected and cherished.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are” (1 John 3:1 The Message).
Though many may not have experienced such a love in an earthly Father, the truth remains that the Heavenly Father extends a love beyond our imagination. And we are the stuff of his dreams.
See him now bent over you, delighting in you, a child of God.
That’s who you really are.