Do you remember the joy of playing with an adult who loved being with you – one who would forget about personal dignity for a little while to act like a kid with you? This is was one of my father’s gifts to his children.
My favorite place to hide was under our dining table. I would squeeze between the chairs in the narrow space and duck under, tucking my toes under the hem of my skirt. As I watched my family’s legs go by, I slowed my breathing and fidgeting, feeling like quite the spy. I even decided to remain hidden until everyone left the area – so I could use the space again and again.
I got the surprise of my life one day when my father’s upside-down head appeared. He grabbed my ankle, growling like a bear, and after my initial fright we chased and laughed together. It didn’t bother me that my special place had been compromised. Dad was in my world!
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV).
Though this verse talks about Jesus’ humility and obedience taking him to his death on the cross, and my father’s playfulness doesn’t relate much to dying, he did show us that he enjoyed putting aside his grown-up concerns for a while to be fully involved with his children. In fact, we never doubted that he treasured these times as well.
I’m thankful to my dad for showing me our heavenly Father like he did, paving the way for me to relate to God on my own.
And I must add, from my older adult perspective, the play times I’ve enjoyed with my children, foster children, grandchildren (and random children I have the privilege to engage) are still precious treasures to me, though I’m not able to convince them I’m the scary she-bear any longer.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis