Sunday, August 26, 2007

a lettter to the father of my niece

dad and daughter
Originally uploaded by rod lewis

she is beautiful. Truly gorgeous. perfect. miraculous. and I know you feel it.
Anything I ever said about the births of my three pales in comparison to what you're feeling now, because you understand something you never understood.
Like arrows in the hand of the archer, children are a reward from the Lord. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full. Congratulations on your full quiver. You are truly blessed.
Perhaps nothing is as much a nod of affirmation from God than His willingness to entrust you with the care of one of his own.
I beg you to stare at her and don't blink. Dance with her before she ever understands what you're doing. Swing her to sleep while you sing, "black is the color of my true love's hair," and stare deep in her eyes. Attempt to fathom the magnitude of trust and vulnerability that she has in you and pray that you will not betray it even for a moment.
There are equal parts you and Cindy contained in this child. There is physical and spiritual beauty that has obviously come from the mixture of the two of you - of deep love and struggle and grappling and overcoming.
There is also, enshrouding it all, a beauty that can't be understood. That can't be inherited. That you don't recognize, for you haven't seen until today. Each day it will be new and strange and fresh. You had nothing to do with it. It is a beauty that is instilled, that is stamped on her being by her maker and owner, but is entrusted to you to nurture, massage, frame, and protect. To encourage, affirm, praise and pray for. To admire, give thanks, be humbled and learn from.
Don't forget that she understands what you have forgotten. Now is your chance to remember and relearn.
All the confidence in your wisdom, experience, perseverance and fortitude is out the window as you will be humbled at every turn and taught with every diaper how to surrender and give and become selfless.
Love her with everything you've got, because it is from you that she will learn to love.
Hang on every moment.
Live in her understanding of time - the eternal wait until christmas morning, the years that seem to pass for her between August 1 and August 22. Understand that time is relative and that it crawls for her. Then live in that crawling time. Life slows and each moment tastes like ambrosia, and you can experience her wonder. Don't be so quick to teach her the tough lessons of life, but instead learn from her the expectation that all is good and perfect and that all hope will be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, teach her what is right to hope for.
blessings beyond understanding to you my brother.