By Catherine Terry Ashton
One of my earliest childhood memories was that of waiting outside our house for my Dad to come home from work in the evening. We had a long gravel driveway leading to the side of our house and on that same side yard stood a big tree. The tree had some low limbs that we could climb even when we were young – 4 or 5 years old.
My brother, Bob, and I would wait for our Dad by climbing up and sitting in a branch of that tree until we could see Dad’s car start to pull into our driveway and hear the sound of the gravel beneath the wheels. When that time came, we would jump down from our tree branch as fast as we could and run over to Dad’s car. We couldn’t wait for him to get out of his car!
I still remember the excitement I felt each night anticipating Dad pulling into our driveway, then getting out of the car and giving us, first, his big signature grin and then, quickly after, scooping us up in his arms for the coming home hug. I was so, so happy to get that hug from Dad, I think I probably would have camped out forever – or at least since breakfast time – to receive that warm, loving hug!
When he gave that hug, I could feel how much he loved us in his strong yet gentle, confident and secure embrace. I am so grateful to my Dad for this wonderful memory of his coming home from work. He had several familiar games and rituals he would always play with Bob and me that magically said, “I love you,” “You are special to me,” “You are my joy,” and “Now this is our time together.”
When Dad became ill just a few years after that and couldn’t communicate his love for us in words or even hugs any longer, I still had those memories of his “coming home from work to be with us” scenes to draw upon for confidence and the continued assurance of his love.
It has now been nearly twenty-five years since my Dad has passed away, yet the memories of him from my early childhood continue to be a marvelous source of inspiration to me. I remember the great times we had together when I was young; his vibrant smile, the silliness of his jokes, and the playful humor of his rituals.
But of all the fond memories Bob and I have of our time with Dad, the “waiting for him to come home for the evening hug” is to me, the best one of all. And when I think of my Dad coming home, I can still remember the beaming grin he would give us, his long arms smoothly stretching out to hold us, and the feel of his tender hug as he lifted us up off the ground.
Each time I think of it, it’s as if my Dad was here with me once more, and I can feel his love inside of me all over again.
Thank you, Dad. I love you!
Meditation: So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. – Psalm 79:13
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!