Mark 9: 36, 37 (AMP) And he took a little child and put him in the center of their group; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, whoever in my name and for my sake accepts and receives and welcomes one such child also accepts and receives and welcomes me; and whoever so receives me receives not only me but him who sent me.
I would cry for as much as three hours. How many tears can a young girl have anyway? But, the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach would last much longer. My Mom and Dad divorced before I turned two. Mom had custody of me, which meant I lived with my Dad for only a couple of months during the year. I was a Daddy’s girl to say the least. He called me his “Sunshine.” I’ve been told it was usually Dad who would get up during the night when I was a baby. He would feed me, lay me back down in the crib, pull the blanket up around me, then sing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, You make me happy…”
I find my mind racing back to the great times I had with my Dad when I would stay with him for the summer. I still feel the wind swish past me, as he pushed me in my swing. I felt so free and tall as I reached the peak of the swing, my hair tickling my face as I swung backwards. Then he would push again. Almost every evening I would crawl into the arms of my “Daddy” (as I called him back then), while he sat in the easy chair. It would be difficult to describe in words how I felt with the sound of wood popping in the stove and the faint remnant smell of his aftershave as he rocked me. He would start singing, “You are my sunshine, My only sunshine…” What can I call that feeling, safe? Secure? Loved? I guess it is all that and a lot more. At bedtime, he would sit next to me on my bed, having one arm around me, the other holding a Bible storybook reading one narrative after another.
I’m married now with two children of my own that I love dearly. The kids are helping their Dad clean the garage. I am sitting in a swing on the porch gazing out at the cedars and oaks scattered through our back yard. Even today, the strength of those emotions, when the stay with my Dad would end, washes over me flooding me with an anxious sensation. After he took me back to Mom’s I would stand in the living room, looking out the picture window, seeing my Dad’s car getting farther and farther away. The tears would flow quickly and easily. The sadness was like my heart was breaking into such little pieces it would never be whole again. I felt such loss when we were apart.
I am thankful my Dad is here visiting during this holiday season. He’s in my living room watching the fire my husband built in the fireplace just for him. Soon he will be driving back home. I know the tears will start as soon as he drives away. I feel as if I am that little girl again having to say goodbye to her daddy never knowing when I will be in his loving arms again. How painful it was then, and it not any easier now that I am grown.
I ask myself, how does God feel when one of His children leaves His Presence? How many tears run down His sweet cheeks and fall to the ground? Does He have an indescribable empty feeling? Is His heart in pieces until we come back to the safety and warmth of His loving arms? I know too well how bad that feeling is and I never want to leave the warmth of His love and cause Him to cry because of me.
In the new earth, I hope my Daddy’s mansion is close to mine. I pray my husband, my children and my Mom are there. For me, “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying,” is to never feel the pain of separation again.