Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lessons from Accidental Eavesdropping

Not too long ago I was on a plane ride home after a long trip. As the stewardess was making announcements and people were storing their luggage, I couldn't help but overhear the phone conversation taking place behind me as a man made a final call before take off. At first I thought he was talking to a child. So loving. So nurturing. He asked the person he was speaking to about his day, his nap, what he was looking at as they were speaking. They spoke of watching TV, of what might be for dinner, and what they would do when they saw one another again. I thought perhaps he was a grandfather speaking lovingly to his grandchild. His tone was so doting. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I was drawn in by the obvious love of the conversation. As the dialogue continued, the announcement came that we were pulling away from the gate. The man began to say his goodbyes and assured the person on the other end that he would call as soon as we landed. They said their I love yous and ended the call. I smiled to myself at the sweet exchange. As I tightened my seat belt and leaned back for the flight, I heard the man's traveling companion say, "So how was your dad?" I felt my eyes grow moist and a lump in my throat. The affectionate conversation I had just heard was not between a grandfather and grandchild, but between a man and his father. That somehow made it all the sweeter.

I began to think of my conversations with my father throughout my life. My daddy has always been my teacher (though I could be a stubborn student), my protector (though I usually thought I didn't need one), my fixer (after I had royally messed it up trying to fix it myself), and my rescuer (when my stubborn-I-can-do-it attitude has become the perfect storm and I am in a mess). Daddy has always known the value of letting me have my headstrong way and then helping me pick up the pieces when the inevitable consequences have taken place. I have always known my father's love for me.  In the past years as I fought the nuisance I watched him hurt because he wanted to badly to take it away from me. He would have gladly stood in my place if he could have (though if that were possible we would have had a fight because I would never have let him).

 I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the children of the world who can honestly say that my earthly father is a reflection of my heavenly father. His life and my relationship with him has given me a glimpse of the love of my heavenly father. Just as my daddy is my teacher, protector, fixer and rescuer, so is my Father. My Father knows that sometimes the best ways for me to learn is to let me have my way and then when I am picking up the broken pieces he kneels down and lends a loving hand. Lesson learned. Just as my daddy would stand in my place if given the chance, My Father did stand in my place through Christ. Unfortunately I know that many do not see those same reflections in their earthly fathers, but it is what God desired for each of us.

I thought about conversations with my daddy and I thought about prayer. While my daddy is happy to receive my cries for help, he finds joy in the daily conversations of life. He likes to hear about my day, my projects, and stories about what I am up to. He likes to tell me about what HE is up to. He wants our relationship to be a two way street. And so does God my Father. Sometimes in life we get so busy and so caught up in ourselves that we forget to take time just to talk.  In our prayers we have requests and concerns, but we forget to just have daily conversations with God. As I thought about the conversation I had heard, I felt a little nudging in my soul that I needed to have more of those conversations with my daddy AND with my Father. I need more "Father, what are you up to today?" and "I just want you to know I love you". I want my conversations with my daddy and My Father to be as sweet, loving and doting as the conversation I accidentally eavesdropped. I want my daddy AND My Father to know how much I love them!

On that flight home, I whispered a prayer of thanks for the beautiful reminder of the sweetness of talking to The Father. I leaned my head back against the chair and began a conversation of my own.