A friend just has his first child. In seeing the pictures and hearing the news I could also imagine the excitement in the extended family. I knew he enjoyed children, yet the passing of time carried a risk that he would never have any of his own. Now that he has, he is a proud father!
“When are you coming?”
“Hopefully in the spring.”
“Fantastic! I should be an expert in changing nappies by then.”
It is hard to imagine him changing nappies. In the sterile environment that is Singapore, I cannot recall seeing or hearing of anyone changing nappies. I know it happens, but somehow it was always out of sight, at least until recently. Without even seeing the baby or parents, I knew. The smell never changes.
In an instant I could see him at work. With love in his heart, he was father engaged in what was needed for his newborn daughter. He cared. He wanted to be a part of everything in her life, even the less attractive stuff. Nothing could deter his willingness to be a father – including nappy duty.
Life is more than just staying within our space. It gets real when we reach beyond ourselves and into the lives of others.
An old man passed on a greeting with a request; “All the friends here say hello. Pass the greetings around with holy embraces!” (1 Corinthians 16.20) He knew that just saying hello was not enough to convey the message. Life is more than sterile interactions. Life includes an embrace, a helping hand, and a listening ear.
As I listen to the stories, I have no doubt that I will be witness to a father in love with his child. I am certain both will be tested. I am also confident they will work their way through things together. In the action of extending one’s self to another, there is a message of love. It is a gift a father can give his child. It is also a gift we can give each other. The season is always here.