So now…Hi everyone, I am Zoë’s papa. This is where I make my humble attempt to stand in the shadow of my wife’s eloquence and writing prowess. She asked me to jot down a few thoughts about my first father’s day.
So here we go. I will try to keep this short and to the point. If I ramble too much, you might get light headed for staring at the monitor too long. I suppose if I were to be left to my contemplation, on the idea of the most tender and life changing event since God saving me, I would most likely banter on into the afternoon of the following day.
I have many times thought about fatherhood once I was old enough to fathom the idea, while growing up. My father was a career police officer who often spent more time at work than at home, in a fierce effort to keep us fed and a place to call home. Even now, at thirty years old, it seems that my relationship with my father is new in many ways. It is as if he became a father all over again, as he walked through many trying times of his life to discover the greatest reason to have breath. That is, the gift of life we have from our Savior and the gift of life in so many other ways around us. Now I am the one waking before sunrise, to the sound of an alarm, in my own humble struggle to provide and protect my daughter. My idea of fatherhood becomes more clear, ever so slightly, everyday that I live and watch her grow.
I think back on dreams that I would have, while Catherine was still haulin’ Zoë around those nine months. Dreams where I could hold her in my arms, feel her weight and look into her eyes. As if God let me see her before she was born. I would wake up with a sense of distant recollection of an emotion that I had never experienced before. The feeling that if a thousand armies tried to shatter the shelter of my arms, they would not succeed. Or the feeling that if I had to give my life a thousand times over to protect hers it would be a small sacrifice. I also knew in those moments, that I must endure the pain of trust. The pain of love.
There will be a time when I no longer fight the battles for this priceless and lovely child, but I must honor her future and calling in this life, by teaching her to fight. And I must learn to fight by her side. Then, on to releasing her into the hands of the Lord to fight her own battles as I cheer for her. I realize that the releasing must begin now. The fortress of my heart must be accessed by the tender hands of our Savior so that Zoë can be kept truly safe. Not in the feeble hands I could provide but the scarred hands of our Creator. The one who is now guiding her steps before she can even walk. I pray now that I will fulfill the only promise I have made and will ever make to my daughter.
Zoë, I promise to walk with Jesus Christ by His eternal and enduring mercy and I promise with fear and trembling to show you the way. You are my fire brand and sword. To this day and until my last breath on this earth, the moment I become truly alive. I will love you with a fierce compassion that only our Lord could create. I understand now more than ever what saved my soul and gave me a reason to live. I see that reason everyday. Until that day when I walk before the throne of God and the day when you follow behind and we cast our crowns at the feet of the Lamb. You will always remain my priceless and lovely one.
So in my pitiful and pedestrian imaginings on the unsearchable love of God, I received a small glimpse. I see father’s day begin on a cross. So as I leave for work in the dark hours of the morning and peek in Zoë’s room I understand what it means… The apple of my eye. Yes, she is and yes, we are.