My eyes open, streams of morning light warm my face. The melodic songs of birds playing in our backyard trees gently reach my ears with delight, summoning a promise of another perfect day. I slowly turn my body toward the soft rhythmic breathing of the angel beside me, and gaze wondrously at her peaceful beauty. Her long auburn hair cascading down the pillow, shimmering in the gleaming luminescence which has now filled the room.
Captivated by her radiance, I drink her in for a moment longer before awakening her with a kiss. My mind moved me to recall the lost years, when such simple yet blessed pleasures were not the norm, and I silently gave thanks for the restoration of my spirit, my family and my great love. I tenderly kiss her cheek, and her eyes flicker open accompanied with a welcoming smile. She notices a tear fall from my eye as I take her in my arms and whisper, “how very fine you are to me”. “I guess that means you're making breakfast then”, came her playful reply. “After we swim in the blankets a while,” I respond.
Only a short time has passed since winning the final battle against a fierce, ancient army that had successfully pillaged everyone and everything I loved and held dear, all of which was my responsibility to guard. You see, the castle around my heart was left indefensible, its’ unstable foundation the cause for the walls to crumble with violent ease when subtle pressure was applied. The enemy knew this, and all that was precious to me became the spoils of war.
Passing my girly-girls room as I make my way to the bathroom, I peek in, and am greeted with a harmonious “good morning Dad”!
“Good morning girly-girls, who wants pancakes for breakfast?” “Me! ME!” they respond as blankets fly, a flurry of legs hitting the floor in haste, and I am greeted with hugs. “First dibs on the bathroom” I yell as I squirm away and manage to close the door behind them, quite contented with my speed in reaching the prize. “Oh Dad!” I hear on the other side.
Observing the image reflected in the mirror of the conqueror clothed in pajamas compelled me to recall the war, and how I escaped with only my life, relegated to wander alone in a wasteland that was eerily familiar. I had walked there before, a barren desert lacking living water. Lost among the dunes, the swirling sands choked my lungs, the hope of an oasis nowhere to be found. My eyes blinded by the incessant glare of a counterfeit sun.
Descending the stairs into the kitchen, my little guy sits at the bottom playing Nintendo. “Good morning Pal”, and I lovingly brush the crown of his head with my hand. “Hi Dad, when’s’ breakfast?” “How about the men take charge this morning and make breakfast for the women; want to help? “Sure” he replied, “that’ll be fun.”
The plan for the day was attending church service, and later, a picnic in the park. Winters’ grasp had finally weakened, and the aroma of spring impregnated our senses with the change of season. Spending our day together in fresh air and short sleeves was rejuvenating, and we celebrated the newly-found freedom from months of snow and cumbersome clothing. Running along the grass, our bodies moved through time and space as lightly as our spirits.
While watching my children in their discovery of nature and its’ resplendent beauty, their hearts full of anticipation and awe, my hand is grasped in love by their mother, a reassurance my return home is real, and forever. As we walked along, memories of my redemption in the desert flooded my mind with wondrous clarity.
My skin blistered from the incendiary heat, staggering toward death, I fell to the sand and screeched out a final, desperate cry for deliverance. A voice shouted out, “I’m here!” I’d heard that voice before. He gently raised my head and took me to His chest. His tears penetrated and moistened the sandy grit that had sealed my crusted eyes shut. As they opened, He softly whispered a healing plea, “let it go son, and please give it to me. But I want it all this time.”
I looked up to the sky, blue and cloudless, rejoicing under my shallow breath that He cared enough to follow my aimless path of grief and despair on my journey to destruction. But with the shifting sands, wiping clean any trace of my steps, how did He find me?
“How were you able to find me?” I asked.
“You and I have wandered aimlessly through this desert before son, I found you then and again just now”.
“In fact, I spend most of my time journeying throughout this God forsaken place.”
“I know it well”.
“Why would anyone want to endure the torment and agony of this place?” I asked Him.
“Well, you see, my Father once told me this was the best place to meet some of the best friends I could ever hope to have,” he said.
Upon leaving the park, my little guy asked if I could build a fort in our backyard for him and his sisters to play in. “We could do that”, I replied, “Only if the three of you help me with the construction, beginning with the foundation”.
“Foundation? What’s a foundation”? he asked.
“I’m glad you asked me that son.” A building foundation is kind of like having faith in God. It’s something you can build on, knowing its strength will hold fast in all kinds of weather.
“Cool” he said. “Can we start right away?”