Marie put down her pen and glanced over at the clock—it was
10:45 a.m. “Lord, the morning sure does seem to be creeping by. Is it because I’m so excited about my lunch with you and Jen or because you’ve slowed it down?”
“You’ve been up for six hours already—it just seems like time is creeping by. By the way?”
“You’re looking quite lovely.”
“Well thank you so very much. And thank you for putting this outfit together for me.”
“You’re welcome, Marie.”
“Why is it that people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them you help me put outfits together and sometimes even pick out clothes for me? And as a matter of fact, why do I get the same strange looks when I tell people how you help me put a menu together?”
“It’s because of how they see me and how they interact with me. You know, Child, many will call me Father, friend, lover, counselor, Lord, way maker, and healer, and in doing so limit me only to those capacities. For some then, I am only a father for the need they are facing. After the need is met, they dismiss me. But a father does more than just feed and clothe his children. A father is an ongoing duty that encompasses many responsibilities. In fact, this is the case with the other titles given to me as well. “Allowing me to continually be Father to you Marie, gives me access to be just that—a father—and to do what a father does. And by the way, fathers do more than just chasten and lay down laws, fathers work hard too.
“Think about it though Marie, fathers don’t get nearly the attention that mothers do. I’m sure you’ve noticed how on
Mother’s Day the restaurants are overflowing with people and the lines to get in are wrapped half way around the buildings.
The florists can’t make arrangements quickly enough, and
Hallmark is in overdrive. This isn’t the case on Father’s Day though. Being in retail, I know you’ve seen the difference in sales between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And most people don’t put much thought into the gifts they purchase for their fathers. Do you remember the comment that one young lady made in your department this year when she was choosing her father’s gift?”
“I remember,” Marie responded. “She said she had spent three dollars on her father’s gift last year but that this year she was spending a whole five.”
“Of course I’m not making a point about the cost of the gift but rather about the love and thought behind the gift. But remember we watched the young lady go on to buy herself lingerie before heading over to the jewelry counter to browse for more goodies?
“Now understand that I am not griping about the emphasis placed on people’s love for their mothers. I simply want you to think about how much emphasis, study, and observation have been given to the love of fathers—and not just in the biological sense Marie, but fathers in the emotional and spiritual sense. In your compilation of poetry, there is the poem entitled ‘Where are you?’ Can you read that to me aloud, please?”
Marie reached over for her book of poetry, still opened to the last page. Deciding to stand, she read it aloud. In my heart, I long to see, the face that looks like me,
The person who is to show me what I’m supposed to be.
In my ears, I long to hear the wisdom of the mind,
Wisdom that teaches and leads and guides.
My fingers long to touch the firmness of the hand,
To feel the physical strength, the masculinity of a man.
In my bed at night before I fall asleep,
I yearn to see the face of him who should come and talk with me.
The face of him, who should sit by my bed and say with a sincere voice,
“Son, you know I love you, and this I do by choice.”
Oh, to see him lean to kiss me with the kiss that says goodnight,
To feel him tuck my covers, then turn out the light.
I’m not alone with this desire; I know other boys have felt it too.
With our voices united we ask, “Father, where are you?”
Marie closed the book and sat back down at her desk. At that moment, she was filled with the young man’s yearning, but she could not recall what had prompted her to write the poem ten years earlier.
The Lord answered her thought. “For such a time as this
Marie,” He replied.
“Thank you Father. I thought I was losing it for a minute.
Can I ask why you had me read that to you?” she asked, still feeling empty inside.
“You’re welcome, and yes. I have several reasons for having you read the poem. One of the reasons, Dear One, was for you to see your reaction to what you had written. You see,
Marie, there is a difference between a father and a daddy, and the sadness you’re feeling is the same sadness that a daddy leaves a child when he turns his back on his own blood and chooses not be a part of that child’s life. Daddies leave children yearning, longing, wanting, desiring, questioning, and above all, empty, and they do this whether or not they are physically present in the child’s life. A father, on the other hand, never leaves nor forsakes his child and will love that child at all times.
A father sets the example of how a son should be—he shares his wisdom and instructs, leads, and guides both verbally and through his actions.
“Notice in the poem that the child isn’t asking the whereabouts of his daddy, he’s questioning where his father is.
The child desires the intimacy a father shares with his son, the physical strength in his body and his touch. He yearns to feel the strength of his father’s arms embracing him, a show of his father’s love. Oh, to see the face of his father who comes to talk with him; to see the emotions expressed as his father reflects and shares; to hear his father say that he loves not because he has to but because he wants to. Then there’s the kiss—the kiss that says more than a million words ever could say—the kiss that assures the child of the strength of their bond.
“A father, Marie, chooses what he shares of himself and the lessons he’s gives to his son. And with each new part of himself he shares and with each new lesson given, he observes what it is that the son does with his new insight. When his son is ready, the father shares more. Eventually, the father is able to teach his son what the unlearned man defines as weaknesses, but that which I define as strengths. Tears, Marie, are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Similarly, Marie, expressing fear is not a weakness but a strength. So too then Marie, admission of one’s ignorance is a strength as is the confession of error and wrong doing and the seeking of help. Praying and crying out to me is not a weakness, Marie, it is strength.”
Marie nodded her head in agreement with what the
Lord had spoken. She knew from the scripture that God’s words today reflected not only a son’s love for his father in this physical world but also in the spiritual world. She knew how Adam too loved his Father as did Jesus the Christ who embraced his father’s love and was nourished by it.
God continued, “A father draws strength and encouragement from the son whom he has fathered. One of the most moving experiences for a father is when his son has been asked who he thinks is the greatest person on the face of the earth and the sons replies, “My father.” Above all of the heroes, above the movie stars and rock stars, above the great athletes, standing with more honor and glory is the father.
“Marie, it arouses a father when his son asks, “Can I go with you today?” or “Can I help you do that?” It moves a father when his son asks, “What’cha doing?” It stimulates a father when his son says, “Tell me stories about you when you were little like me.” It erects a father when he hears his son say, “I love you,” with sincerity in his heart. It moves the father all the more when his son can utter those same words after being chastised and disciplined. Oh, how it overwhelms a father when a son asks him about his first love and inquires about the love he now has for the boy’s mother. But what really sends a father’s emotions sky rocketing is when his son asks, ‘How did you feel when you first saw me?’ Oh, how I long to see the face that looks like me . . .”
“A desire so strong,” Marie said aloud. But there was only silence. She understood this to be her dismissal, but still she sat at her desk shaking her head from side to side, thinking about all the Lord had spoken. Her eyes fell upon her book of poetry, laid open to a piece entitled “Silent Moments.” She read it to herself.
In moments of silence, Lord, I hear your voice.
During this time, you share thoughts and wisdom of your choice.
In moments of silence, you’ll expound on the depths of your word,
Revealing truths so powerful, some truths I’ve never heard.
Moments of silence bring me joys; truly they are overflowing,
Moments of silence encourage me with so many new ways of knowing.
Moments of silence are precious times that money cannot buy.
Moments of silence are times set aside, Lord, for you and I.
Thanking the Lord again for His time, thoughts, and teachings, Marie closed her book and glanced at the clock. It was 11:45 a.m. How wonderful that an hour had flown by she thought as she moved to the mirror to be sure everything was in its place. Marie checked herself from head to toe: five feet two inches tall, medium brown complexion, one hundred thirty five pounds, and rather shapely—not too bad at forty nine. She smiled at herself, pushing her shoulder-length hair into place. Satisfied that her makeup properly set off her deep brown eyes, she smoothed her ankle-length black skirt and stooped to straighten her gold anklet and rub a smudge from one of her black and gold high-heeled pumps. After one last look from head to toe, Marie adjusted the gold rope chain that fell gracefully down the neckline of her gold lame tank and adjusted the shoulder pad of her black sweater. When she was finished, she gave the Lord her thanks. “You sure dressed this vessel nice today, Lord. I do love your taste.”