Daddy, did you ever do drugs? Yes, baby, I did.
Daddy, have you ever been drunk? Yes, baby, I have.
Daddy, have you ever stolen something? Yes, baby, I have.
There are a host of questions which my daughter might ask me that, much to my shame and in keeping with my promise to always be honest with my daughter, I would have to answer in the affirmative. I can see these questions coming, a little down the road, and quite frankly, they scare me a little. I must find a way to be honest with my daughter and to provide her with the guidance that she will need to avoid those pitfalls which I was unable to find my way around. The life I have lived, and the struggles that I have faced, have left me with a laundry list of things that I wish I had not done, and I know that when she is old enough to ask, I will have to swallow my pride and admit to her that her father and his past are anything but perfect. These were my choices, and part of the price that I will have to pay is the look in my daughter’s eyes as she comes to terms with her father’s imperfections, but all of this pales beside one of her first and most recent questions.
At two years old, my little one had just entered into that stage of life where everything becomes a question. She wondered at the leaves on the trees, marveled at the stars in the sky, and questioned the smallest of things. And she watched. She watched her mother and I as we moved about our daily routine. She noticed little things to which we no longer payed the slightest attention. She watched and she understood more than I often realized. One evening, I was puttering around the kitchen, engaged in one of those habits that has become so routine that, unless someone calls my attention to it, I don’t even realize that I am doing it. Suddenly I felt a sharp tug at the leg of my pants, and looked down to see a set of smiling blue eyes looking up at me. In the sweetest voice imaginable, my daughter asked, in all seriousness, “Daddy, are you talking to God?” At that moment (and now, even as I write), tears came to my eyes, because lost in my thoughts as I was, my daughter heard what I hadn’t even realized I was doing. Crying, grinning, laughing, I reached down and scooped her up in that hug that only a Daddy can give and I had the sincere privilege of saying, “Yes, baby, I am.”
Yes, baby, I am. Those four simple words were, for me, like a pat on the back from Papa. I knew, even in that moment, all of the questions to which I might (one day) have to answer “Yes,” but thank God, the man that was standing in the kitchen holding the second most precious gift God had ever given him is not the same man that lost himself those years ago. That man, that addict, that drunk, that thief is dead, and those sins are covered by the most precious gift ever given by God to fallen man, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. Because of that sacrifice, and a grace that has never, in more than 40 years, failed me, I find my self in a position where my daughter can, on some random Tuesday, tug on her daddy’s pants leg and wonder, “Daddy, are you talking to God?” Yes, baby, I am. I’m talking to him about the wonderful life he has given me. I’m thanking him for you and for your Mama. I’m thanking him for our home and for our jobs, and for the love of our family. I’m thanking him for rescuing me from the place where I used to be and bringing me to the place where I am now. I’m asking him for forgiveness for the (many) ways that I still fail him, and telling him how much I love him.
Yes, baby, I’m talking to God, and so can you.
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