Growing up: I would say I had a healthy childhood. We had family time together, went to church regularly, had Sunday birthday dinners, and I even had my own bedroom for which I picked a pink and purple flowered-comforter.
You know the stereotypical “Daddy’s girl”? The one who can bat her eyelashes at her daddy, and he instantly turns to mush? That wasn’t me at all. My dad taught me to be hard-working, honest, trustworthy, and independent. He gave me the skills to be a smart sales person, gave me a firm handshake, and taught me to be a business leader. He always said I’d be a good realtor, but he and Mom never persuaded me to become someone who didn’t feel internally natural. Therefore, I picked my own college, my own scholarship program, and my own major. To their surprise, I picked Sociology and Criminology. I also studied English and creative writing. Thank you Mom and Dad, for letting me pave my own road. And thank you for being there for me when I ran into a dead-end, or road blocks so severe I couldn’t get around them without a tow truck. I digress.
As a child, Dad would often invite me out on daddy-daughter dates. We called them kivas, and Indian tradition. Usually on kiva night, Dad would take me to T.C.B.Y. The Country’s Best Yogurt, where I would get white chocolate mousse ice cream in a styrofoam cup, with mini gummy bears all over the top. I used to push the gummy bears deep inside the ice cream because I liked to feel them almost frozen in my mouth, hard to chew, the life sucked out of the little bears.
Fast forward ten years. I was on the swim team for my high school. I wasn’t awful, but I was far from the best. Mom, and I always joked that I needed to marry an athletic man who was also good at math. Check. What I lack, he has. (Let’s be honest, I lack more than just athleticism and math skills. But we won’t go there.)
The pool area in my high school was very large, and very humid, even in the dead of a Colorado winter. Especially humid for Dad, sitting in his business suit, watching me practice. Dad came straight from business appointments to watch me, before he had dinner. My family was the “5:00 is dinner time every single night” type of family, and practice started at 5:00 p.m. so this was a big deal.
Growing adult: Dad took me to college. He dropped me off, and I wasn’t ready. He kissed and hugged me his signature bear-hug goodbye, and that sinking homesick feeling settled in, with a few months worth of luggage. I missed Dad, and my comfortable little world. But Dad encouraged me and supported me, and 4.5 years later, I graduated college as a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.
Wedding day arrived. I was ready to go, dress on, hair done, butterflies in full force. I walked down the long corridor with a death grip on my bouquet. When I rounded the corner right in front of the entrance to the sanctuary, there was Dad. We both started crying, and I received the best hug from my earthly father possible.
Let me tell you about my other father. First, a bit of background info: my husband is a musician, and he plays for one of the worship bands for our church. He has a heavenly voice, and mean talent on the guitar.
This past Sunday evening, our church held a special worship night. My favorite line from one of the singers was “There is an audience of one tonight.” That meant to me that it was just me and God. I sang along with my husband as hard as I could, loving that my church encourages me to jump up and down or clap or do whatever I feel is right to show my enthusiasm for God. I poured my heart out to him, praising him and thanking him for all of my many blessings, for his love and sacrifices for me. I then lifted my arms in worship and reached as high as I could to the heavens, so I could hug my heavenly Lord. I felt the warm smooth arms of my wonderful savior envelop me, covering me with his goodness and mercy.
It wouldn’t be fair for me to compare the two hugs, that of my earthly father and of my heavenly father; they both rock at hugs. I am so blessed to have two wonderful fathers. One on this earth, across the country. I can pick up the phone and hear his voice, his guidance and wisdom. My other father never leaves me, he lives inside of me, and walks with me always. I can’t pick up the phone, but I can fall on my knees, and hear his voice speaking to me ever so clearly.
I am so fortunate to have two fathers, both such fabulous huggers. I am so loved.
“God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6 (NIV)