As I sat on the couch, frantically trying to finish my progress notes, I was aware of his presence. Dad sat on the opposite end of the sectional smiling at me, waiting for me to engage him in some conversation. “Not now. Can’t you see that I am busy?” I screamed inside my head. I turned my gaze in his direction and gave him a smile, and quickly returned to my work. He just continued to sit there in silence, smiling. I can still see him sitting on that couch, in his faded jeans and white zipped up sweatshirt. And now, 7 years after his death, this is the memory that haunts me.
I know without a doubt, Dad knew how much I loved him. He and Mom lived with us, and were a daily part of our lives. We had many conversations. I went to all of his doctor’s appointments with him, and helped care for him during his illness. I have no regrets about my relationship with Dad. Except for this one moment.
Sitting there with that smile, I knew that he was just looking for some acknowledgement or recognition that he was there. I know this feeling now in a way I didn’t know seven years ago, as my sons are teenagers now. I feel like I am fading into the background as their days unfold, just waiting for some sign that I am still important in their world. And now as I sit on that same couch, I smile and wait for them to lift their heads up from their phones, simply wanting for them to present.
When I picture Dad on that couch, I think of how loving and patient he was with me. He did not get angry or frustrated. He simply waited for me to turn my gaze toward him.
Sisters, our Heavenly Father is loving and patient as well. He smiles as He waits for us to turn our gaze to Him. His love for us is unfailing, even when our eyes are focused on the things of this world.
Like a parent waiting for a child, He simply wants us to be present with Him.
Psalm 103: 8- 17 tells us this :
8The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
10He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
15Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
It has been 7 years, and I still cannot look at the couch where Dad sat without remembering him. But now in his place, a red cardinal can be seen directly above that same spot where he once sat through the window.
And I know his love remains.
In the spirit of the season, remember to turn your gaze to the greatest gift man has ever received.
His love remains.