Sunday, April 3, 2011

Time with Dad

When you live this far north you go kind of crazy at the first sign of spring. Even though there's still snow as far as the eye can see, there was warmth in the sun today and so we sat on a south-facing deck and soaked it up. Nine degrees (that's forty-eight for my American friends) holds all the glory of a summer day when you've been cooped up by cold and howling winds for more than six months.

In the distance I heard the roar of a motorcycle engine and it brought back my best springtime memory...

My dad peeling back the sheet that shrouded the Honda Gold Wing all winter and wheeling it out into the spring sunshine--the precursor to an adventure. He'd tweak and tune things until it ran just right and then he'd polish all the chrome. The first ride went to the youngest--not too long. Then the next sibling for a slightly longer ride. I'd sit on the front step, arms wrapped around my knees, containing my anticipation, holding a secret--I was old enough, big enough, for a really long ride. I was quiet in the knowledge that it was going to be worth the wait.

About twenty kilometers from our house was a dairy where my grandfather had worked when they first immigrated to Canada. The dairy still made and served ice cream. This was the secret destination.

I'd climb on the back, wrap my arms tightly around his waist, and hang on for the ride. There was a thrill and exhilara
tion as we sped up. Stray hairs whipped my cheeks, the thrum of the engine filled my ears, and my face was split by a grin. On the last twisty stretch of road my body would lean into each curve imitating his, keeping us safely balanced, and then we'd arrive.

Cool, creamy, grape-flavored ice cream in a cone. Always grape in those days before my taste buds became permanently fixated on chocolate. We'd sit in the shade of a tall elm tree--he with his maple walnut and me with my grape--and we'd lick and talk. And I'd feel special, happy to be recognized as the daughter of my father, the friendly man with the easy smile and sharp bike.

I don't remember the details of a single conversation, but my soul has been shaped by the time spent. I was absorbing his character and ideas. I was gaining a sense of my own identity as seen through his eyes.

Time spent with our Papa shapes us. When we look into the eyes of our Father and see His love shining we cannot remain the same.

Pause and be in His presence and you'll be forever changed.

There is no room in love for fear.
Well-formed love banishes fear.
Since fear is crippling, a fear-filled life

--fear of death, fear of judgment--
is one not yet fully formed in love.

We, though, are going to love--love and be loved.
First we were loved, now we love.
He loved us first.
1 John 4:18-19

My Dad on my son's dirtbike
August 2010