Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Father's Love

The book lay under several layers of long forgotten personal items in the trunk of her car. Its binding showed evidence of neglect, yet it protected the unread handwritten pages. For more than a year the bound pages remained a part the items hoarded by the girl as she tried desperately to hold tightly to her fast fading youth.

Her senior year of High School became a distant memory in the rush of the fall semester of her College sophomore year. She was growing up; at least in many areas of her life. The discipline of regular class schedules and deadlines for papers and projects was reshaping her priorities. Values change. So do priorities. And so do friends. The old things pass away so that new things can come. In many ways, the girl was becoming a young woman. But still the book still lay under the growing pile of discarded items in the young woman’s crypt of her past.

For 263 days of her High School senior year, he sat at the coffee shop table sipping a mixture of coffee, cream and sweetener. And every day the unlined pages of a black bound journal were slowly and thoughtfully filled with the love he poured out for his daughter. He was a father and he loved his girl. He provided for her needs. He protected her from the encroachments of the world as best he could. And now in the pages of this book, he wrote the words of his life experience, dipping each thought into the ink well of his heart. His hope was that somehow this labor of love would help preserve his precious girl.

“My dear daughter”, headlined the top of each page. What followed was a different story every day; a new insight into life. A sliver of wisdom, a drop of knowledge, a pinch of experience, a glimmer of insight.

“When Niagara Falls was first discovered the flow of water over the falls was much greater than it is today. Then the amount of water going over the falls caused considerable erosion moving the lip of the falls backward up to 3 feet per year. But man’s need for electricity led to the construction of several dams upstream from the falls so that water could be redirected through turbines creating electricity. Now the volume of water passing over the falls is greatly reduced and the erosion caused by the water has slowed to about 1 foot per year. The Niagara Falls are one of many natural wonders that display God’s handiwork. And so your life was created as a wonderful miracle whose purpose is to demonstrate the magnificence of God. Construction of man-made structures, no matter how noble, has interfered with the natural flow of God’s wonder at Niagara. The same will be true should you allow the trappings of this world to impede the display of God’s wonder in your life. Not only will these impede the flow of His life through yours, it will greatly reduce His plans to reshaping and direct the flow of your life. Choose wisely those things you build into your life.”

The girl came home from college one day and her dad decided to clean out her car. In the trunk he found the black bound journal. Retrieving it, he placed it on the bookshelf of his office. Within a few days she returned to college and the book was never mentioned.

Two years past. On another visit home, she was talking with her father in his office when she noticed the journal on his shelf. “There’s my book,” she said. “Where did you find it?”

“Beneath piles of things in the trunk of your car” was all he said.

“Can I have it back” she asked?

“Sure” and he handed her the book.

Another two years passed and the girl was preparing to enter Medical School. The father was so proud. His little girl was growing up to be a beautiful productive woman. And he loved her.

Six months ago his phone rang. “Hello?”

Only sobs on the other end of the line. He knew the sound of her crying. “Sweetheart, what’s the matter?” The only response was, “Daddy” followed by more sobs. In a moment she regained her composure.

“Are you alright?” It was his only thought.

“Daddy, I’ve been up all night reading the book you wrote for me. It’s the first time I’ve read it. You put so much work into writing it for me, and I never appreciated it until now.”

“Writing it wasn’t work to me; and I knew you would read it when the time was right.”

Silence for a long moment. Then a sniffle on the other end of the line.

“Daddy, I never knew how much I was loved. Thank you.”

Then they both cried.

Who has shown you how much you are loved? Take a moment this Thanksgiving to say two simple words to them. “Thank You”. Happy Thanksgiving to all!