Monday, June 16, 2008

A Man of Few Words

I talked to my dad today. In his usual way, his words were few, though well-chosen and without complication. "You can call more often, Honey. I don't always know when to call you."

My dad wants me in his life. . . .

A couple of weeks ago, nearing the end of a short visit to their winter home in Sebring, Florida, I sat with Mom and Dad after enjoying a wonderful dinner. Tears slipped down my cheeks, eventually choking out my voice, as I began to give them an unexpected glimpse into their daughter's story.  God was calling me to a deeper place. A place that required cleansing. . . . and a vulnerability I found intensely risky.

Dad set aside his dinner and locked my gaze from across the table. I asked forgiveness for the facade, for the fear. Through trembling lips, my words came. Tumbling and awkward. "I need to know that you love me with my crap. Not just when I sing or when I get my name in a book." I paused. Then I emptied my heart. My chest heaved as sobs continually interrupted my less than eloquent story. In the end, all I had left were tears. 

Within seconds, Dad made his way around the table. He wrapped my exposed soul in his arms and reminded me where I stood with him. "You just be who you are. I love you." I'm not sure I can remember the last time I laid my cheek across my dad's shoulder or experienced the comfort and safety of his extended embrace. He's a hugger, for sure, but not always the warm fuzzy, expressive type. 

That day, within our small circle, I heard something I'd previously only assumed to be true: my dad loves me just the way I am. As I'm in the process of being perfected, letting go of old skin, walking into tomorrow's clothes, I'll have days of extreme doubt. But this man of few words— my dad, my protector—showed me the picture of Truth: I am wanted, and I am loved. No matter what. 

I love my dad. He does a great imitation of Jesus.