I’m Irish, so when I was a little kid, I had crazy, curly hair and lots of freckles. I’m also the youngest and only girl with three older brothers, one of whom greatly loved to point out to everyone this one giant freckle right in the center of my nose. I remember responding to his teasing with great confidence something like this, when God the Father was walking by all the babies up in heaven, He stopped, took a look at me and carefully placed this big fat freckle smack dab in the center of my nose. That’s how special I was to God, He loved me so much; He wanted the whole world to know. I don’t know where I came up with that story, but I actually believed it on some level. I knew from a very young age, that God loved me with a great love. I’m sure the fact that my parents were a little bit older when I was born and my brothers generally treated me like a princess served to help me think I was pretty special. I was spoiled and loved and adored and I reveled in it. I always felt loved and listened to. I believed that I was both blessed by God and a blessing from Him to others. Most of my friends who speak of their relationship with Heavenly things talk about Jesus or the Blessed Mother, some are devoted to the saints, but there’s not too many who speak of their relationship with God the Father. The Big Kahuna, the Big Cheese. Yes, we pray the Our Father, we know He’s up there loving us, like a kindly old benefactor, but it’s almost like he’s a CEO or the principal of a school, busy in His office and we’d rather not bother Him or worse bring too much attention to ourselves. We call on Jesus for help in an emergency, the Holy Spirit for guidance in a difficult situation. We beg Mary to intercede for us and pray novenas to the saints, but it’s not often that I hear that someone goes directly to HIM.
Last spring I had an unusual experience. I woke up early one morning within what felt like a loving embrace; a warm, tender hug. I kept my eyes closed and just luxuriated in the feeling, the love, the intimacy. I felt completely loved and understood. With my eyes still closed, I said the word, “Daddy” out loud. When the word was spoken I felt cuddled closer, as from a loving parent. Tears seeped from my eyes in release and I began to tell my Heavenly Daddy about my thoughts, my fears and my joys of the moment. It was the same as sitting on my earthly Daddy’s lap as a child many years earlier and telling Him about my day. The same interest, attention and loving caress that I got as a little kid, was exactly what I sensed at that moment, but this time from my Heavenly Father. I felt heard and cared for and completely trusted that He was interested in my little life and my little thoughts and feelings. It was an experience I will never forget.
I shared this story with a friend, and she responded that that was beautiful for me, but I think she missed, that this could be her experience too; it could and should be all of our experience. That God, my father and yours, is with us, loving us, caring for us, rooting for us, He’s your biggest fan. Like any parent He would be thrilled for us to turn to Him, to stop and think about Him, to talk to Him and ask Him for advice. To call Him Daddy. Now I will grant you, that the fact that many of us may not seek out God the Father is because we have gotten the impression that He is remote and far away, above us, way too busy.
My guess is that many people, if they think about it at all, feel their relationship, or lack thereof with God the Father has a lot to do with their relationship with their earthly father. I was lucky enough to have been raised by a Dad who loved his family deeply. A prayerful, soft spoken, giant of a man, quietly interested in all the details of our lives. Dad loved us in a calm, caring unassuming way. You knew you could always count on Him. Maybe that’s why I know in my heart God is a loving father. My earthly father was gentle and kind and loved us unconditionally and he was human. Another earthly father, obedient to God’s will, was St. Joseph and who could argue a more loving, caring Dad in a situation he couldn’t possibly have understood, but accepted with love and faith.
The bottom line is that while we all may not have been lucky enough to have a devoted Dad here on earth, our Dad in heaven is available to all of us. And He loves each one of us with an everlasting, mushy, tender, touch-feely love. He adores you. He’s loved you since before you were born and loved you in good times and bad, even when you weren’t very lovable.
It’s a strange thought to be loved in spite of our flaws, it’s not what we’ve been taught love looks like. If you’re lucky enough to be a parent, you know that kind of love. You know the joy you feel when you look upon your baby as they take their first steps or say their first word. The way the laughter bubbles right out of you when your child does something to amuse you or the happiness when they say, “I love you Mommy”. We feel an all-consuming love for our kids and would willingly lay down our lives for them, and we’re human. How much more then, does our Father delight in us? “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered“, Matthew 10:30.
When your husband disappoints you, when your boss criticizes you, when you’re at the end of your rope and there’s nowhere else to turn, He’s there reaching out His hand. Hoping you’ll turn to Him, give Him your sorrows and your fears and place all your trust in Him. Let Him take them.
I for one am joyful to be loved by Him. I am enchanted by the wonders He bestows: the brilliant, pulsating noon time sun, the smell of spring in the air, the boisterousness of a babbling brook my daughter and I pass every morning on her way to school. These gifts are offered by a loving parent to amaze and delight his children, if we but choose to look. At times I’m so overwhelmed by His goodness, tears run down my face in awe. Then, I tell Him what an amazing artist He is and thank Him for allowing me to see the exquisiteness of His creation.
Maybe I’m childish, but I’m happy. Confident and secure that I’m cared for deeply. My husband says I live in a bubble, perhaps I do, but it’s a wonderful, joyful place to be with “wonders to behold upon and many colors bright”.
I guess I’ll always be a Daddy’s girl…how about you?
Copyright 2010 Maureen O’Shea