Jun 08 2008

Invisible Link

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:35 pm

Today I sat in church with my 10 yr old daughter. Her mom is usually playing the piano, and so my daughter often sits between her grandmother and me. That way, we can both hear her sing. I don’t think the small vocalist knows that we sometimes just listen to her. She probably just thinks we’re tired by the second verse, if she thinks about it at all. Sometimes grandma and I make eye contact. We both know what we’re doing. We don’t talk about it.

Now, not to knock the sermon today; it was great, on Psalm 42. But attention can drift. I expect somebody dozed off during the Gettysburg address, or while Paul was waxing eloquent about unknown Gods. Especially while Paul was going on about unidentified deities. So my mind can wander now and then.

But partway through, I noticed an odd looking purple pen in my daughter’s hand. I don’t know where she got it.

She took my arm, and prepared to write something on it. I thought, oh great, now I’m going to have ink on my arm… But Dads will do anything for love of a child, pretty much, so I let her write. She seemed to write a short word, but apparently the pen wasn’t working… No ink, I supposed, or it was dried up or something.

I shrugged to her, and returned my attention to the sermon. She was doing something beside me, but I wasn’t paying lots of attention… Kids get squirmy in church sometimes, and she wasn’t making noise. Then she tapped my arm, until I looked down. She had turned on a small light on the end of the funny looking pen, and was shining it on my arm, the miracle of “black light”. In kid-scrawl letters, my forearm said, all in lowercase, “dad”.

Well.

I know this is probably silly, but the moment took on a luminescent meaning for me. There we were, father and daughter, bonded in many different ways, each partly defining ourselves in terms of the other. She was naming me for what I was to her, and applying the label… But only she could read it. And she wanted me to see the label, too. It was our secretly acknowledged non-secret.

Being metaphorically minded, I could not help but reflect on the invisible bonds in our lives. These chains bind us as surely as titanium steel twisted cable, as unexpectedly powerful as light-weight carbon fiber-reinforced Kevlar. We can stretch our bindings. But they’re still there, drawing us together.

As a father, I have tremendous freedom of action, befitting the responsibility that is mine. There are a thousand ways to be a good father, and about a million ways to be a bad one. It may be odd to say, and it is not usually expressed this way, but I am also her servant, working for her and for the One who put her in my charge, for a little while. Perhaps it is good for servants to wear invisible identification.

Her yoke is easy.

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One Response to “Invisible Link”

  1. harmonicminer » All’s well that ends well… especially in car crashes says:

    [...] last year about this time, and because I have nothing really better to say, I’ve linked to it here. Today I sat in church with my 10 yr old daughter. Her mom is usually playing the piano, and so my [...]

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