A few first year reflections

My daughter turned one today. It’s hard to believe it has already been one year. Although I could write pages about how life has changed, I will limit it to a few reflections.

– It’s amazing how things can change in a matter of moments. One moment my wife is pregnant, the next we are parents. I think its funny how we spend years in school, work hard at perfecting our sport, and save for the new car, etc. Time is invested and effort is spent for the day when the potential of these will come together. Sure, joy is felt in the payoff for time well spent and energies put into our hobbies, education, and any other important thing. But generally that’s all they are: things requiring effort and time. And then along comes a person who needs all the time and effort you can muster for and it is within a mere moment that everything changes. And it is joy.

– When I was 20 I went to Africa for about a month. I stayed with my sister and her family in their house outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The first weekend we my brother-in-law and I went to a small church on the nearby mountainside. It was unbelievable. One of those experiences you will never forget. Somehow, and perhaps somewhat unfortunately, we were the first white people some of the children had ever seen. They ran up to our vehicle to see their reflections in the mirrors and windows. All this was prior to opening the door of the car. As soon as the door cracked, the rush of beautiful, harmonious music filled the car. Mostly unaccompanied voices that were full of hardness, melody, and above all worship. I remember thinking that when we sing with the multitudes in eternity I hope it sounds like this. There is no music in the world that compares.

What does this have to do with Lily? I compare her laugh to the music I heard in Kenya. I hope the eternal laughter between God and his children is like the joyous sound of Lily’s laughter in my ears. The innocence and freedom in her laugh is something I will never grow tired of. When Jesus discusses the faith of children and their place in the kingdom of God, he must have been thinking of their laughter.

– Lily has recently begun her venture into the wobbly world of walking (like the alliteration?) She can stand up by herself and walk when you hold onto her fingers. There have been plenty of times when she has fallen down, mostly smaller incidents which don’t require crying. Yet there have certainly been times when crying was necessary. The thing I find myself doing without thinking about it though reminds me of how God deals with us. I instinctively put my hand out to catch her, usually without her noticing it. My hand is almost always there to break her fall, whether she is cognizant of it or not. I can tell it doesn’t really matter to her whether my hand catches her or not; it is not a source of relief either way. Yet my hand is still there to keep her injury. I wonder how many times God has been there, even without us recognizing him, to keep us safe. Just thinking.

– Having a child teaches you patience. There have been plenty of times, especially in the wee hours of the morning when she was first born, when patience is basically a  cursed quality. No one wants patience at those times. And then they become mobile and get into things and have attitudes…I can’t wait till she is a teenager. Already I wonder why she doesn’t listen to me as well as I listened to my parents every time they told me to do something. I now somewhat know what patience is. And I need more of it.

It has been a great year and I cannot wait to get to know her more as life continues. Everyday is a gift of grace and love. Everyday is a moment to be thankful. And I am.

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