Sunday, June 16, 2013

The best Father's Day gift. Ever.

I'm the kind of Dad who seems to be able to find all sorts of gifts I'd like for Father's Day throughout the year. But Come the actual holiday, I can't seem to remember any gift that I want, for the life of me. Everything they advertise seems like a gimmick. Unnecessary.
Maybe this strange gift amnesia is a gift itself?

I don't know, but I'm quite sure that a simple breakfast from Marco Antonio's surrounded by the satisfied murmurings of my kids enjoying his unrivaled Camarone Chipotle tacos, will do me just fine. Family enjoying good food together is gift aplenty.

Come to think of it though, I did receive one extraordinary Father's Day gift earlier this week. Only, I wasn't the father.
I was witness to a gift given from another daughter to her father.
"Strange," you're thinking, "that witnessing a gift given to another father can bring someone such pleasure?"

Quite understandable to wander.
Unless, of course, you knew the extent to which this daughter had suffered abuse at the hands of this father of hers.
Unless you'd been sitting where my wife and I were sitting that morning, listening soul-shattered to this daughter recount the horrors of her betrayal and violation at the hands of the one man she was born to trust.
Then you would not wander at all.
Then you would shake your head and cover your mouth with me in wonder.
These are the days of miracles and wonder.

father. abuser.
Those two words should never be uttered together. Ever.
But this daughter limped in and leaned upon her Heavenly Father.
In her crushed innocence and crippled shame she leaned.
What twisted demon always skews the blame and leaves the abused feeling shame?
But shame she felt, and lean she did.
Steadily, she leaned in upon her Father, learning to send her abuser away debt free.
Steadily her limp healed to a walk, then to a stride.
She felt heaven thaw the bars of her arctic prison and she began to stride.
Send your debtor away debt free.
And you get out of jail free. You get to stride.

Two years ago on Father's Day, she strode to see her father, now an old man.
She strode to give him a gift and tell him she loved him.
No counsellor would ever recommend this. But she insisted.
I think she had forgiven him more than I had.
I probably relented because I hoped the gesture would heap burning coals on his head.
Why should he ever have a happy father's day?

Her gift to him was a hat and a hug.
It may as well have been the moon.
Redeeming love spilled over from this daughter's brand new heart
and splashed her father's gnarled old soul.

This week she told me that she was sending her father another Father's Day gift.
This time it wasn't a hat. It was a photo. Of her as a little girl.
"God has restored my innocence. My Father in heaven redeemed what was stolen from me.
And my father on earth doesn't need to suffer shame anymore."

Father. Redeemer.
Those two words are glued together with the blood of God's own Son.
Those two words became her favorite words.
And her gifts to him have become my favorite Father's Day gifts.
An annual reminder of the scandalous beauty of the Father's gift of grace to us all.

"How could the abused become healer to the abuser?" you ask.
How could her father ever be redeemed?
I ask the same, shaking my head and covering my mouth in wonder.
These are the days of miracles and wonder.

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