My Four Year Old Date

It happens every Friday at 3:15 pm, fifteen minutes before the school bus arrives.
Every Friday without fail.
I wouldn’t miss this date for the world.

Every Friday around 3:10 pm I grab my six foot by six foot orange striped blanket/towel. I walk out my front door and turn left and ease my way past four houses and at the fifth house I spread out my soft blanket and lay it on the coarse St. Augustine grass. I lay down on the towel and prop myself up on my left elbow and wait.

I don’t have to wait long before the front door of the fifth house opens up and here comes Levi. On his left shoulder he carries an insulated soft sided cooler that contains four very important items. One twelve ounce can of Coke. One seven and a half ounce can of Coke. Two small bags of Trail Mix.

We open up the bag and a surprise look flashes across my face every Friday, “Look at what your mom packed for us! Two Cokes and two bags of Trail Mix! Wow!” Levi’s face lights up like a Christmas tree. I pull out two miniature red solo cups and pour Coke into them. We raise our glasses and click them together and proudly say, “Cheers!” Levi’s pronunciation is more like “Tweers.”

And so begins my wonderful, weekly, warm Four Year Old Date…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…

This past Friday I asked Levi what he was going to do on Saturday. His answer was quick and decisive. “I don’t get to spend time with you on Saturdays. Only on Fridays.”

This is true. Only on Fridays do we get to laugh on the lawn and chug our Cokes.

I spoke to Levi’s mom about this and her eyes became as big and round as saucers. “Every day Levi wakes up and asks what day it is. When I tell him that it is not Friday, he immediately flops back down on the bed. But when I do tell him that it is Friday, he straightens right up, jumps out of bed and gets dressed right away and all day long he asks, ‘Is it time yet? Is it time to go outside and see David?'”

The anticipation is almost more than Levi can take. The front door on Fridays opens up and Levi almost rushes as fast as he can so that he can sit down on the orange striped blanket, look me in the eye and have our fifteen minutes together alone before the bus arrives and a slew of the neighborhood kids come bounding off.

It has become a ritual, a rite of passage and a holy time for a four year old and a fifty-one year old to come together and share a snack and a Coke together.

Of the two of us, the fifty-one year old and the four year old, which one of us represents Jesus the most? What would you say?

I believe you have guessed correctly.
Levi, the four year old best represents Jesus in my eyes on this weekly encounter.
In reality it’s Jesus who waits all day, every day to meet us face to face.
Jesus can’t wait to hear the sound of our voice.
Jesus can’t wait to be in our presence.
Jesus can’t wait to gaze lovingly into our eyes.
Jesus can’t wait to raise a cup with us and shout, “Cheers!”
Jesus can’t wait to lay down on our blanket and just shoot the breeze.
Jesus can’t wait to listen to our heart of hearts.
Jesus drives the angels crazy in heaven as he asks over and over, “Is today the day that I get to talk to one of my children?”

And so it is… Levi the four year old is Jesus to me and I, David Dendy, the fifty-one year old preacher is the child.

It’s amazing what spiritual truths I have learned on “My Four Year Old Date…”
Thank you Levi!

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus – (Matthew 19. 14 ESV)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

A Holy Kiss

His lips are luscious…
His lips are tender…
His lips are sweet to the touch…
His lips are pure and innocent…
And when they press against mine there is a connection that cannot, will not ever be broken.
A dad kissing his son…on the lips
The son kissing his father…on the lips
A Holy Kiss

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…

Everyday I kiss my nine year old son, Joshua.
Everyday Joshua kisses his fifty one year old dad, me.
It is a holy time.
It is a holy kiss.
It doesn’t last long.
It’s not intended to.
It’s a connection point…
A father telling his son, “I love you.”
A son telling his father, “I love you too.”

Joshua and I kiss each other willingly.
Out of coercion? No…
Out of complete trust? Yes…
Joshua knows that I love him.
I look out for him.
I want the best for him.
Joshua knows that I will not betray him.
It is out of great love that I kiss my son Joshua…
It is out of the only love Joshua knows that he kisses me…

I can’t help but wonder…
How much longer will it last?
Until the innocence is gone…
Until the peer pressure grabs him…
Until the awareness that other kids don’t kiss their dads on the lips…
Until the day arrives where he turns his face and all I get is his loving cheeks, if that…

For “today” our greeting is A Holy Kiss!

How about you?
Four times the Apostle Paul encourages us to “greet one another with a holy kiss.”

How will you greet people today?
Most of us who read this post will indeed have been betrayed, sucker punched, abused, discounted, demeaned and disparaged at some point in our life.
As a consequence we greet each other with cynicism, doubt, caution, distrust, tolerance, and a sense of “holding back” and/or “holding out.”

Jesus gets it…
Twice Jesus is kissed in the recording of his life and mission.
The first time a woman kissed his feet to honor him, to show her love for him. A beautiful breath taking display of love and affection. Truly A Holy Kiss!
The second and last time Jesus was kissed was by a man named Judas who had come to “out” Jesus to his captors. A damning breath taking display of betrayal and treason. Not a holy kiss.

I am wondering what would happen today if the people we greeted were greeted with “A Holy Kiss…”

Not a literal kiss on the lips, although that would be permissible (if consensual!!)…
But rather what would happen if we greeted people with…
Trust
Love
Compassion
Patience
Joy
Laughter
Fearlessness
Peace
Kindness
Gentleness
Innocence

It might just be like giving the whole world one gigantic “Holy Kiss!”
The world needs one right about now, don’t you think?
Come to think of it…
Maybe you need one too…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

 

The Empty Chair…

“The Empty Chair” sits vacant at every home this Christmas.
It sat there all alone in my house and it sits all alone in yours.
The difficult part about dealing with “The Empty Chair” is that it used to be filled…
Filled to overflowing perhaps…
Filled with sounds of laughter…
Filled with striking smiles and twinkling eyes…
Lips that curled a certain way right before busting out laughing and even crying…
Eyes the narrowed in keen observation, eyes that softened and moistened upon saying “good-bye”…
Eyes that lit up with a joy uncontainable upon seeing your face…

The Empty Chair used to be filled..
Filled with hands that you used to hold and stroke and hands that used to hold yours…
Hands that had wedding rings and diamond rings and mood rings and turquoise rings…
Hands that had dug in the dirt, changed the oil, baked the birthday cakes and
Hands that you just knew you would hold forever and ever…

The Empty Chair used to be filled…
Filled with a voice that was so unique you could pick it out as “that” one and only voice in a crowded mall.
The voice that made your heart sing every time that voice uttered your most precious name…
The voice that read you bedtime stories, Bible stories and the “funnies” on Sunday morning…
The voice that would command, direct, whisper and shout.

The Empty Chair used to be filled…
Filled with someone you loved or still love…
They are no longer at the table
Not necessarily because they don’t want to be..
They may just not be able…

The Empty Chair they used to fill is empty because…
They have passed away, never again to see you another day…
They have ventured off to another land, promising to one day return and hold your hand…
They are imprisoned either literally or figuratively which by either case hurts none the less…
They are hurt beyond compare and the only way they know to respond is to hurt you back by filling the empty chair with just “air.”
They might be on vacation and will return next year to fill The Empty Chair.

The Empty Chair used to be filled by…
Our husband, our wife, our granddad, our grandmother, our mother, our father, our son, our daughter, our significant other, our friend, our uncle or aunt, our brother or sister…

It is always this time of the year that The Empty Chair makes the loudest noise.
It’s Christmas and we celebrate with all the smiles and with all the joys.
And yet, The Empty Chair is not a seasonal chair…
It sits empty all year long right in front of you, right there.

It is with sadness and it is with glee that we celebrate and tolerate The Empty Chair.
The Empty Chair is a blessed curse,
Some days are better and some days are worse.
Our memories of those who once filled The Empty Chair fill our heart
Do not let the memories evaporate would be a good place to start.
Instead, take one step or more
And walk across the dining room or living room floor
And sit, sit tall or sink right in The Empty Chair
And absorb the spirit of the one who is no longer here and no longer there
And praise God above for the love you are able with family and friends to share
Because, one day your spirit will be all that is left to fill The Empty Chair…

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Enough

This time of the year the word “enough” is used quite a bit…
After Thanksgiving dinner I said, “I’ve had enough.”
Grandmothers are popular for asking with their sweet voice, “Have you had enough to eat?”
We parents are famous for declaring, “Enough already!”
Exasperation leads us to scream, “Enough is enough!”
When we are fed up with someone or some thing we might proclaim, “That’s enough!”
As conscientious drivers we may ask our passengers, “Are you warm enough?”

Perhaps the most painful way we use the word “enough” is when we subconsciously, unwillingly and fearfully place two little one syllable words in front of the word “enough.”
Two words, three letters and two vowels…

Am I enough?

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday

Julie and I were dating when we met a most special young lady.
She was in high school.
Her parents were divorced and we became great friends with her mom and stepfather.
We watched her mow through college.
We rejoiced as she earned her teaching degree.
With great pride our hearts swelled as she got her first job.
And of course, along the way a young man came into the picture and before you know it, marriage brought another young man, a little boy, a son. Now she is expecting once again.
She’s the type of woman that if your daughter grew up to be half the lady she is you would be thrilled.

But, she has one particular issue…
“Stupid dad issues…” (At least that’s how she framed the issue in a text to me recently)

If you don’t have “Stupid Dad issues” I bet you have one or more of these…
Stupid Boss issues
Stupid Mom issues
Stupid Husband issues
Stupid Wife issues
Stupid Blogger issues
Stupid Kids issues
Stupid Employee issues
Stupid Enemy issues
Stupid Friends issues
Stupid Self issues

You get the picture…
I don’t know the whole story with my dear friend and her “Stupid Dad” (I say that tongue in cheek!), so this next paragraph is purely conjecture…
In relation to our moms and dads, little girls, along with little boys (As long as our parents are alive we are little girls and little boys) want to know one thing and one thing only…

Am I enough?

We excel in school. We behave. We develop great friendships. We keep our rooms clean and our mouths a little bit cleaner. We win the game. We get the girl or boy. We go to church. We win the approval of our friends and teachers. We serve the homeless. And the question remains…

Am I enough?

With regards to my beautiful, vivacious, lovely friend, I just wonder if her dad has ever taken the time to place his big hands gently on her cheeks with his thumbs perfectly positioned along her cute nose and look deeply in her eyes and say, “Oh dear one, I love you with a deep love that makes my heart skip a beat at the very sight of you. My heart swells with pride at the very thought or mention of your precious name. Hear me when I say, ‘I love you, I am so proud of you and yes, you are more than enough.'”

Jesus was 30 years old when he heard from his Dad for the first time that he was enough.
I was 43 years old when I heard from my dad that I was enough.
How old were you?
Or…
Are you still waiting…still wondering?

I’m not your dad, but I am hoping that you will be courageous enough to do just one thing.
Take that question, “Am I enough?” and rearrange the words and make it a declaration…

I am enough!

The reality is that you really are enough!
If you can make that declaration it just might be the best Christmas gift you will ever receive…
And that would be enough to last a lifetime!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2. 9 ESV)

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3. 16-17 ESV)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

ps – To my dear friend with the “Stupid Dad” issues… You are more than enough!!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com