“. . .Thou art thou, and here am I.”
I’m surprised at feelings I’ve had since I began writing Dear Dad letters. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m trying to get something from Dad that he can’t give me. I don’t think I am. I definitely feel I’m ‘out there,’ in the driver’s seat without a finished roadmap, uncertain where this will lead.
Most surprising, though, has been a sense of relief. Not because I know what I’m doing, but because I know I need something for myself. Something I can receive only by speaking to him about the very subject he wasn’t always interested in hearing about—me, his first-born child, female.
George MacDonald’s sonnet-prayer for Monday of this week got to me. Here’s what he says for January 26.
Not, Lord, because I have done well or ill;
Not that my mind looks up to thee clear-eyed;
Not that it struggles in fast cerements tied;
Not that I need the daily sorer still;
Not that I wretched, wander from thy will;
Not now for any cause to thee I cry,
But this, that thou art thou, and here am I.
George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul,
© 1994 Augsburg Fortress Press
These Dear Dad letters feel right because I’m my father’s daughter. I’m not asking for anything. I’m not expecting anything from him. Simply put, I need to be present to Dad in a way I’ve never been present to him before.
I’d describe it as barging right in and announcing my presence. Not rudely, but confidently. Interrupting Dad was a big no-no when I was a child. Knock before entering; enter only if permission is granted. Dad is very busy right now in his study. Don’t disturb unless absolutely necessary!
But he’s my Dad! I’m allowed! No explanations needed. No big crisis. No requests to make things better. No great accomplishments or failings to report. And no clear strategy or plan about why I’m here just now, why he’s the one with whom I need to speak, or what I’m going to say next. I just know I need to be here.
George MacDonald’s prayer gives me hope. He just ‘barges right in’ and announces his presence to his Lord. If I don’t need to excuse myself for barging in on The Holy One, my Creator and Redeemer, the Divine One, God who Sees Me, Knows Me, Welcomes Me, Speaks to Me, Loves Me, and Shows Me the Way Home, then I don’t need to excuse or explain myself, or get permission to barge in to talk to Dad.
I’m entitled and welcome as his daughter. His mature, responsible, persistent adult daughter.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 January 2015