Is Dad Still Waiting…?
What is prayer? It is obviously more than reciting our Christmas List to a Celestial Santa Claus. Certainly, it is more than a pry bar to use as leverage against a stubborn boss in the sky. It can’t just be a plug-in for connecting with “The Force” or divine power!
I know, I know, you may be offended that I’d use such crass metaphors – but don’t we all, at times, shrink our prayers down to a technique to:
- Get things from God
- Get things done
- Get the power (for healing, helping, hanging in there…)?
If you like Tweet-length messages stop here…
If you want to hear another of Papa’s Family Story Times, read on.
Dad’s Waitin’ – by Pastor Mike
Bob hadn’t spoken to his Dad since he walked out of the house as a teenage boy, three decades ago. When he left home that day, he slammed the door so hard it split the casing – and that was one door he never intended to open again. At first his departure felt like freedom, but now he realized it wasn’t freedom but a prison. His bitterness toward his Dad not only poisoned every relationship he’d ever had, including 2 marriages and disconnected children scattered in their own ways now – but that broken relationship defined the boundaries of his existence. The exact definition of prison – self-made, but a prison nonetheless. So, when Bob got the weekly phone call from little brother Bill, he fearfully broached the subject.
“Bill, I haven’t talked to Dad in nearly 30 years.”
Bill’s voiced wavered as he said simply: “I know Bob.”
“Well, I’m starting to think…” his voice faded.
“That’s good brother – startin’ something new at your age.”
“I’m startin’ to think,…that bitterness and that broken relationship has affected my whole life” he paused to catch his trembling breath… “in… a bad way, I mean…”
The heavy silence finally gave way to Bill’s quiet voice. “Bob, you always were a quick one to learn.” Bob chuckled and cried at the same time. Then he said, “Bill, I think I should talk to Dad, but I guess I’m scared…”
“Huhn! Now that’s a first,” Bill joked. “Big brother who launched his Harley off the freeway entrance ramp, who’s busted up a teenage gang fight, who fought in the jungle, is afraid to talk to an old man with Emphysema.”
“You know what I mean you smart mouthed little punk! I’m… scared that… I’m scared that he won’t want to talk to me Bill.”
“Bob. There’s things I wish you’d been scared of in life, but that’s not one! Dad wants to talk to you.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, you know how I call you every Saturday morning at seven?”
“Do I know… you’ve woke me up on every day I had off for years!”
“You know why Bob?”
“I thought it was a case of hero worship Bill!”
“Bob, the first time I called you forty years ago I barely kept my breakfast down when I heard your voice”
“I’m sorry Bill… I know what I done, and…”
“No, brother, you don’t…!” The old fire flared up but Bill smothered it with a few tears before continuing. “No, you don’t know what you’ve done. You broke Dad’s heart more by your distance and silence than anything else – but that’s not the point I’m gettin’ at. The reason I called you that first time was that it took Dad thirteen years of you hangin’ up the phone on him and him beggin’ me to call you before I’d do it… I’d a sooner talked to your mortician than to you. (Long silence and sobbing.) But Dad… it broke his heart, you know, us not talkin’ either. So, Dad calls me at six every Saturday morning. Every week he makes me promise three things: That I’ll call you, and then call him back immediately. (More silence.)
“You call me a quick learner little brother, that’s only two things. You said Dad makes you promise three things.”
“He also makes me promise not to tell you that the only reason I’m callin’ is because he makes me… Until today, when I heard the touch of regret in your voice, I’d ‘a broke my promise to Dad to say I’m callin’ for any other reason than ‘have to.’ I guess I didn’t realize we’d both built separate prisons out of the same bitterness. Anyway; how do I know he wants to talk to you brother? He’s sitting by the phone right now. He’s waitin’ for my call back, but he’s prayin’ it’ll be your voice when he picks up. Do you need the number brother? Dad’s waitin’ for your call.”