Sunday, October 16, 2005
I’ve had this picture sitting on my desk for the last few weeks, ever since I was working on that photo project for my mom’s 50th birthday. For some reason, when I was looking through pictures, this one caught my eye and I pulled it out of the box and left it on my desk. Every time my eyes catch a glimpse of it at the corner of my desk, or under a pile of papers I always pull it out and stare at it for awhile. I still can’t quite figure out why I find this picture so enchanting.
Sometimes I feel so much of my dad alive in me, that there isn’t even room for me. It’s beautiful and somewhat uncomfortable. There’s as much of the crazy as there is the sane. There’s as much of the confident as there is the paranoid. There’s as much of the addiction as there is the simple-mindedness. There is this eternal quality of a person, and I think part of what makes it eternal, is that it cannot die because it keeps living on in those it has impacted.
Last weekend I was back in Cincinnati for a baby shower of one of my college friends. I had tried calling my dad a few times to set up a time to see each other before I left. We kept changing our plans as the weekend went on. Finally we agreed on lunch Sunday at Chili’s. As Sunday came I was feeling really sick and couldn’t meet him for lunch. So I invited him over to sit and talk with me as I lay on the couch. He walks in with an Arby’s bag. He proceeds to sit down and talk to me as he chomps away at his roast been and cheddar sandwiches.
We talked about some great stuff and really connected, but as I drove home later that night it wasn’t our conversation that stuck with me, but more the Arby’s. I’m not kidding or making some joke about the food. When I was younger, I have countless memories of my dad getting Arby’s. (I mean five for $5, who can beat it). Seriously though, there is something about these simple quirks that invokes such a feeling of closeness and intimacy. There are millions of these little quirks that each person has. Some others for my dad is the way he is always rubbing his hand really hard on the arm of the couch (he has carpel tunnel’s, and ruined many an arm of a couch), or the funny way he squints his eyes when he looks in the mirror, or his surprisingly high pitched laugh.
I think that it is these simple things about a person that ultimately make them so lovable. In the speed and business of our lives I think that we often forget to stop for a moment and remember these little quirks and appreciate the people that God has put into our lives. As I was driving home from Cincinnati, imagining my dad from years past in his puffy blue coat eating Arby’s, I felt an intense love rush over me for my dad as tears ran down my face. For so many reasons I could be bitter or angry at my dad (which at times I have been both), but in that moment it was all washed away, and I loved him so much.
It is in these moments that I can barely comprehend the love that God has for us, his unruly and disobedient children. I think that is part of what I love so much about the picture of my dad and I. The image of this big man smiling holding a little girl, full of fear and questions, gives me a sense of comfort. I’m still a little girl full of fear and questions, and even though my dad can’t hold me like that anymore, I know that I have a dad in heaven who can.