Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thoughts on Fathers and Imperfection

This evening, I went in to visit with my dad a bit. He was hurting and very tired, clearly anxious for his new pain medication to kick in. I asked if he wanted me to stay, or if he was too tired and would rather I come back later. He wanted me to stay and visit. I sat with him and gave him the run-down on the day's events, listing off the well-wishers who had stopped by the hospital, as his mind is foggy right now.

Within only a few minutes, I could see that his pain was lessening and he was falling asleep. I asked if I should go so he could get some rest, but in his weak and whispery voice, he said that he wanted to spend some time with me. I offered to go get a book to read and sit next to him while he napped. He nodded. So I read and he slept for over an hour--his first good, solid nap of the day. When he awoke, he thought the dim light of twilight was early morning. He felt like he'd slept all night.

As he slept, I read from The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. This book has been on my reading list for close to a decade, but I've just now finally picked it up to read.

The subject at hand was prayer, and how often our attempts are less than we think they ought to be, but acceptable nonetheless.

Manning, quoting M. Basil Pennington:
A father is delighted when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep. Essentially, the child is choosing to be with her father, confident of the love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms. Our prayer is much like that. We settle down in our Father's arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit around here and there; we might even fall asleep; but essentially, we are choosing for this time to remain intimately with our Father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will. It is very simple prayer. It is very childlike prayer. It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the kingdom.

So often, this is the best I can do. My mind flits about here and there, distracted by so many things, and if I am actually able to relax and rest in his care, I may just fall asleep. Fortunately, it's enough. I am welcome in the arms of my Father. He just wants to spend time with me and is grateful that I want to spend time with him, too.

1 comment:

Mister Ed T said...

Good thoughts. I've often enjoyed crawling up into God's lap. Such a place of peace and security.