Of all the gifts Our Father in heaven has blessed me with, there is one that is so incredibly beyond compare and so far beyond my own comprehension that I tend to take it for granted. It’s one of those things I can’t really fathom, though I know its importance and if I think too deeply about it, I get a bit scared. That gift is a share in His own Paternity. God made me a father (the generosity of my lovely wife was a key in His plan here, so I musn’t ever forget that). Why scared, though? Well, because I know myself. I know how imperfect I am and it’s awe-inspiring and downright terrifying to think that he would entrust not one but two beautiful and precious little babies to my care. What’s even more is that He’s made it so that I get to see myself in them. It’s almost as if He’s saying “Look, these two people I’m placing you in charge of… These two whom YOU have to provide for and raise up for Me? Yeah, them… Just for kicks I’m gonna’ make them look like you!” Actually, I’m pretty sure that God wouldn’t use contractions or the word “gonna'” but that’s a different story. But I sometimes wonder why He would make our offspring like us. He could just make them perfect. Oh wait, He did. But I know I’m not perfect. What’s going on here?!
I don’t have a clue as to why He chose to give us children who resemble us, who like the things we like, who make the same gestures and have the same tics. Personally I think He did it out of love. It’s almost as if He’s validating us in some way. “Look, here’s the deal… I know you might not always love yourself as you should [hell, sometimes I don’t even like myself all that much]; but I want you to see how beautiful and precious you were in your parents’ eyes once and how you always are to Me. Plus, it’s kind of funny to watch your reaction the moment they do something that drives you nuts and you realize you’re staring in a mirror. LOL.” OK, I know it’s implausible that God wouldn’t contract his words but would actually say “LOL”. Whatever.
All I know is that I am the luckiest and most blessed man in the world to have such beautiful children and a beautiful wife who brought them into the world with me. Of all the things I’ve been called in my life I really do like the name “Daddy” best of all. So imagine my surprise this fine Father’s Day when my son brought me a gift and demanded I “open it right now!” I unwrapped the package and found myself holding a book. War and Peace? No. Far more superior was this. It was a copy of a children’s book about Lucy the Margate Elephant. Who’s she, you ask? Lucy is a legend in the Fatherland (New Jersey, my home state). She’s actually a he given her tusks. Lucy is a six story elephantine-shaped building in the Jersey shore community of Margate that was built in the 1880’s as a tourist attraction. She once had two siblings in Coney Island but they long ago burned. Lucy has survived time, the elements, development, and Hurricane Sandy. But why was this book so special for the two of us? Because, my son shares many of my interests. There it is again! God made them like me. Crazy! A few months ago I told my son about Lucy because he was bordering on obsessed with Big Tex, the State Fair of Texas landmark cowboy who burned to the ground this past fall. “Son, in New Jersey, Lucy is as famous as Big Tex is here in Texas.” Then I showed him some pictures online and he found a new obsession. He loves that he was born in the same state as his daddy and I love that he loves that. And so I sat and read to him the most amazing children’s story about a giant elephant and the Jersey shore in a land that bore both him and me. And I thought about God and how He shows us His incredible love and I cried. OK, I didn’t cry. That would be a little fru-fru. But I did smile at my boy (and my little girl who had also climbed on the bed to hear about Lucy).
Life is wonderful and God is good.