He came home from work and leaned forward to give her a kiss...arms at his side. They haven't hugged in years. The pain and suffering she experiences on a regular basis in her arms and back make hugging excruciating. I see it in his eyes sometimes...how he wishes he could hold her. He smiles, moves a strand of hair out of her face and turns to make her dinner. He hasn't noticed that I am studying him. His eyes are tired but his hands work to make dinner as if it is the most important task of the day...a very long day.
His days begin at one o'clock in the morning when he wakes up to care for her needs...alleviate some of the pain that keeps her awake at night. After she's settled in bed he sleeps a few more hours and then gets up again to care for her at four. A few hours after that he commutes to work. Even at work, she is never far from his mind. He calls twice during the day to see how she is. As soon as he walks in the door at five, he greets her with a kiss and begins their dinner. The laundry, the vacuuming, the mopping, and the grocery shopping take up his free time now...all things she can no longer do.
This small glimpse into his life is what moves me most as his daughter. As I watch him do for her what she can't do for herself, I see Christ. Christ did for His bride the Church, what she couldn't do for herself... and it cost Him. I used to wonder how Christ could look at us and the handicaps that we still hold onto and not count the cost...not get exhausted in the continual sacrifice of loving us. I don't anymore. I see the answer in the way my dad looks at my mom when he comes home from work. It's there in the way he pauses to kiss her, the way he holds her with his eyes. Instead of jumping right in to the tasks in front of him...the sacrifices, he pauses to really look at her. In doing this he is able to forget how tired he is...the cost of taking care of her. The only thing he sees is the one he loves. Love doesn't count the cost.
I can't think of a better gift that a dad could give his daughter, than to unknowingly paint such a beautiful picture of how Christ loves the Church. Christ isn't worn out or frustrated by our needs or our dependence on Him. He too pauses to look at us in the middle of our continual need of Him, and only sees the ones He loves. Then, just like my dad He keeps on caring for us. He continues to patiently and lovingly address our needs. He never stops doing for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. His continual sacrifice and carrying of our burdens provides us with the freedom we need to simply be. His sacrificial love allows us to find rest in Him...to be lighter.
Soon it will be Father's Day and I can't help but sit here and thank God for the way I see Him in my father!