My grandson’s baseball game was cancelled this morning since the chance of severe thunderstorms is above the 80% mark this morning and I’m a little disappointed. It hasn’t started to rain yet, but I feel the leading edge of the front beginning to blow its way in. So, I’m grateful that the kid’s safety comes first. We don’t take chances in the Springtime in North Texas. I don’t remember ever thinking storms were a bad thing when I was young. They were an excuse to get soaking wet. But back then, I didn’t have to pay for new roofs, homeowner’s insurance, or broken car windows, either. I take severe weather alerts more seriously now.
I called my son to let him know I wouldn’t be picking him up for the game, and as we were hanging up, he said something that brought a flood of emotion and gratitude. He said, “I love you, Dad”. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? I say it to my parents, spouse, kids, or (fill in the blank…) all of the time”. Sitting here on the porch this morning I realized just how big a deal it truly is.
The words “I love you” get used a lot these days. I use them all the time, especially to my wife, kids, and grandchildren. I have a circle of friends I truly love and care about. Our conversations usually end with “I love you my friend”. Much of the time though, I catch myself saying them more out of habit than conveying their true meaning; kind of like the old beer commercial, “I love you, ma-a-a-n”.
I think that’s why I got so emotional behind my son’s words this morning. I always end our conversations with “I love you”. The usual response is “I love you, too”. Not today. Today he said, “I love you Dad”. It may sound corny, but it meant the world to me. I said, “I love you too, Son”, but it carried even more meaning than usual. It was a reminder of how blessed I am to have my grown children in my life.
He and I haven’t always gotten along well. Active addiction (on both our parts), left unique emotional scars on our relationship. I guess that’s why it hit me so hard? There were so many things I did (and didn’t do) when they were growing up. It was a struggle as a single father and made even more strained by active addiction. Despite all that, we still love each other. It was another reminder of the grace I experience in my life over and over and over, without end…
A simple , unexpected and unsolicited ,“I love you Dad” reminds me of all the love and grace I receive each every day – from my wife, our kids and grandkids, my friends – and most of all, from a God who loves me passionately and genuinely likes me: the God who pursued me relentlessly even though I didn’t deserve it. All of this because he loves me – warts, faults and all! He loves me because that’s what Father’s do – love unconditionally and without limit. Somehow that helps me love others better? I’m awestruck!
Today, I’ll keep this short. The low pressure system has arrived and it’s raining now. I’m going to relax with the rain day and bask in the love that surrounds me. I pray this post finds you well and if nobody has told you today – I love you, my friend…