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Meditations on My Father: Two

July 8, 2010

Two nights ago I awoke at 4:30 a.m. to the screams of my son Samuel, this was more than a cry, it was a groan that emerged from the hidden recesses of his young heart.  At first I thought he had just stirred and would fall back asleep, but as he continued I began to wonder…  So, reluctantly I arose and entered his room.  Doing what all good parents do the first thing I did was check his diaper hoping that would explain the primal noise.  With his spindly body climbing and writhing in my arms I quickly realized that his diaper was clear, and it was something else that he was after.  Scrambling to figure out what to do to help my son go back to sleep I crawled in Manoah’s (my other son) makeshift fort constructed from the skeleton of his bunk-bed.  Soon Samuel calmed down with his blankie, snuggled up in the space created by my fetal curl, and promptly began to suck his thumb.  Lying there for those moments before I transferred him to his crib I realized that his screams were cries of longing to be held, comforted, united in love to the Big Ones (Anjuli and Myself).  

A small child cries because it has no use of words, it is not articulate in the ways of the world and so vocalizes its longings in a wordless groan.  Those longings never cease to be present in the heart, they never stop acting upon the internal world of the human soul.  They have not in mine.  But there is a point in the development of the heart when those longings mature and take a shape beyond being held, sung to, and rocked.  Each heart begins to take its own unique shape, embedded within a web of experience that cannot and will never be duplicated.  This reality shapes the soul and gives it a trajectory that must be studied, attended to, discovered, and framed by wise others, especially the Big Ones (mom and dad).

There came a distinct moment in my life in which I realized that it wasn’t God I was angry at, it was my father.  I was angry because my heart was unknown by him.  The matrix of my own experiences and meaning had been more or less abandoned for life’s tantalizing offers of “the next big thing” whether at church or work.  Though my father provided and protected well, a gift for which I am grateful, the essential core of my being was orphaned.  My longings, my corruption, my joys, my dreams were increasingly relegated to the insular world of my own psyche and never brought  out into reality, never experienced by myself as known by him, he had never really incarnated himself and entered my world.  Sometimes I just wished he would take me to the beach to watch me surf.  I wondered if he actually enjoyed me, saw in me a distinct special creation worthy of pursuit, a source of endless fascination.  At some point in this process my heart stopped crying out for him.  I accepted the fact of my spiritual abandonment, one that I found was deeper than that which I inherited from my father. 

It took three lonely weeks in a cabin on the Peugeot Sound to remember what I had forgotten.  I discovered a sound buried deep in the rubble of a ruined soul that shook me out of my orphaned slumber.  It was a groan roiling, churning with frightening force, a groan that a man named Bryan heard.  My body convulsed in a cold liberation, and I knew, for the first time, that because another human heard my orphaned heart that I had a Father in Heaven who hears.  I knew I had a Father who was listening to my cries from before I could remember, who did enter my world through His Son, who had not only taken me surfing but had made the ocean a stage on which I learned to dance.

Even now my body shakes with that same ancient cold, longing to be heard.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”  Romans 8:23

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