when do we know love becomes stronger than hurt?

“Dad’s genuine contrition took the fun out of holding offenses against him.
In choosing weakness, his love became stronger than my hurt.”

Joshua Rogers


(daddy’s idea of fun / Julie Cook / 2018)

When does one first know that they are a daddy’s girl?
Is it in the womb?
Is it in the delivery room?
Is it upon the very first face to face meeting?

Is it when he looks down and sees not only himself or his wife, but his own dad
in that tiny new face staring back up at him?

Is it during that first visit to the doctors when tears are first really shed?
That he reaches to hold you, comfort you, to protect you?

Is it during those early on sleepless nights?

Is it when daddy is left to babysit and dresses you in your first crazy outfit
unbeknownst to mom…are those Mardis Gras beads?

Or is it when daddy watches his own father who once cared for him when he was your age,
who is now taking on a new role in both of your lives?

Or is it when daddy shares the Mickey Mouse show with you,
just as his grandfather had done with him at that very same age?

No matter when it is…when that first moment registers that this is the man who is charged
with your care and protection…
the man who has been given the most important role of watching after you,
caring for you, providing for you, training you, teaching you, instructing you,
having fun with you, having to correct you…
exemplifying all this it means to be a father…
just as God is Father to us, in turn, entrusting our earthly fathers to be that
same living embodiment of God Himself…

We all know that living up to such a trememdous role and responsibility is a monumental task.
It is not for the faint at heart.
For there will be joy, but there will also be gut-wrenching heartache.
Because to love is just that…
an uncontainable joy matched with unrelenting pain…

There will be those who will fall and those who will, at times, fail.

It is with all of this in mind, my son’s first Father’s day, my husband’s first Father’s day
as a grandfather, that I came across a most sobering reminder of the power of both love
and forgiveness within the complicated role of parent and child.

How both love and forgiveness far outweigh anger and resentment.

Click on the following link to read one man’s story of his own relationship with a man
who had spent a lifetime letting him down, but in the end, taught him about the
most important lesson a father can offer…
that in forgiveness, there is power.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/16/my-dads-stunning-response-when-told-him-off.html

Happy Father’s day to the two most important men in my life….
from the one little girl whose hearts of yours, she has captured now forever.

Just when you thought you had it all figured out…

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”
Augustine of Hippo

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends”
Joseph Campbell

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(Tyreaware minions, Kilcolgan, County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Just when you thought you had your life all figured out…
Knowing who you were, where you were going and what you wanted out of life…
WHHHHAAAAMMMAM
Upside the head it hits you.
It’s like out of no where…the inevitable curve ball comes flying your way, skewing all that nice neat order you had worked so hard setting up.

You were cruising along, having jumped through all the necessary good life hoops…
You’d gotten everything, those proverbial stars of yours, aligned and you were set…
Good to go.
Life was good…
You were happy…
Your little corner of the world was rocking along quite nicely.
You weren’t really worried about anything…
You had The education, The job, The car, The clothes, The spouse, The kids, The friends, The house, The pets, The vacations …

You even had your “religious” time all neatly organized and in a pretty little box set up on the self–you’d take it down, dusting it off, those days you weren’t playing golf, or having to watch the kids, or when you had to take the family to church because of Easter…

Yep…
Yessiree, life seemed golden.

But one day, a day like any other day, there was a tilt in the axis.
Neatness and perfection shifted.
Trouble was brewing and you…well you were like a deer in headlights.
Standing there with that kind of dumb “what just happened here” look all over your face.

It caught you by surprise.
It rocked your whole world…
Everything you thought you knew and believed…
Well it was now standing upside down.
All because of what you thought you knew and believed wasn’t really the real deal.

Either you had read the words, listened to the words, were told the words, witnessed the words…oh it doesn’t really matter how, because the words, the thought, the idea, the notion…it all hit you…like a ton of bricks…and now that is all that matters.

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put the urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”
(A.W.Tozer)

The words now reverberate in your entire being.

…He first put the urge within us…”

It’s like an alarm clock just went off inside your head.
The urge, the gnawing yearning, put there at your very conception, finally pushed its way forward and you finally took notice.

It’s about time…

And today, everything is now different.
Neat no longer cuts it.
Conviction has come calling my friend,
And you, thankfully, will never be the same.

That thin veil that once hung over your tidy little world, gently covering the real work at hand, has been lifted and for the first time in your lifetime…you can actually see…clearly, thankfully, beautifully see…
and finally you truly know what exactly it is that you are to be about…

For God has come calling my friend…and joyfully, life, your life, and the lives of those you touch, will never be the same…

“Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire.
Deuteronomy 4:36

Growing up

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
― J.D. Salinger

That’s one of the things we learn as we grow older — how to forgive. It comes easier at forty than it did at twenty.”
― L.M. Montgomery

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(Guinea Wasp among the flowers / Julie Cook / 2015)

When did you know that you were all grown up?
Really grown up. . .
As in no longer childlike but rather the designated, tag you’re it, authority of all things known and those things yet known. As in you are now the expert, the one everyone has decided to turn to for help, advice, strength, guidance, knowledge, direction, responsibility. . . the one who had now been taxed with the hard decisions, the tough choices, the yeses and the nos. . .??

For some of us it was perhaps a catastrophic event early on in life. A harsh reality thrust upon us far too early and much too soon.
For others it seemed to come at the cold uncaring hand of fate, the economics of our world, the poor choices of others.

Some of us mark the milestone in much the same way as certain ethnic tribal groups who have ceremonial rites of passage. The hoopla of a 21st birthday, the last hooray of a bachelor or bachelorette party before one’s impending nuptials. Some of us know the passing of the torch occurs the moment our first child is born. . .

I thought my moment came at age 25 when my mom died and I had to care for a father who was suddenly a lost child, readily foregoing adulthood while wrapped in his utter grief. I was pretty certain it hadn’t come at 23 when I married—as I was still so green and terribly wet behind the ears back then.

I think it also happened again when my son was born. I had to put my wants and needs aside as I was now responsible for the well-being of another. Resposiblilty should equate to growing up, should it not? There was just something about losing a parent and then becoming a parent. . .
Surely that was it, the time. . . the time of losing a parent and becoming a parent that signified life as a grown up.

At 55 I figured I was pretty grown up.
No doubt about it, grown.
I had retired had I not?
One has got to be pretty old to be able to retire right?
One would think.

My son got married last year.
I have a daughter-n-law.
My hair is turning rather silveresque.
My bones are a bit more brittle.
My eyesight is eluding me.
My mind may not be exactly as sharp as it once was.
My husband keeps reminding me I’m not as young as I once was.
I’m not keen upon hearing that.

Yet events of recent weeks have once again reminded me, that I’m still not totally grown up. . .
not by a long shot.

It slowly dawned on me, as I sat splayed legged on the floor of my old bedroom, of which now acts as Dad’s office, sorting through a myriad, or more like a mountain, of unpaid bills, forgotten tax information, past due this and that, a plethora of saved junk mail, folder upon folder of the years past all while spending countless hours on the phone sorting out the disaster he had slowly created when, on the fateful day we can’t seem to recall which was which, that he woke up and his mind decided it no longer wanted to be the grownup mind of a dad, my dad.

It may have come when I began writing countless checks, signing my name where his name should have been. When I called the numerous insurance companies seeking help. When the nurse came from the insurance company to evaluate his needs. When I called a care service. When I had to tell him NO or YES to his insistence that there be no care service, that he indeed needed “help”.

Maybe it was today when we sat filling out the healthcare questionnaire for the new doctor. The personal, oh so personal, questions I had to ask, had to listen to his answers. Questions you never imagined asking your dad or having to have him explain. Maybe it was when I had to explain to him about how he had to work the blood occult test kit as he politely told me, “no thank you, I don’t want to do that.”

As he now looks to me, or rather at me, for reassurance, for direction, for help, for rescuing, with questioning rummy eyes, which now look while pleading and searching for answers. . .answers I don’t readily have. The same eyes that were the ones I looked to when, as a little girl, I would call out each night for the various stuffed animals elected to guard and protect me throughout the night, as he’d throw them to me from across the room from their daily resting spot, thrown to my excited open arms in order for me to catch them, one at a time, as we performed our nightly ritual. . .

We all know parents aren’t exactly human. . .they’re a lot like the teachers I’ve spent a lifetime alongside–superhuman, not like mere mortals. They don’t have the same ills or issues as others. They are invincible and beyond the ordinary.
That’s their role is it not. . .?

Theirs is to provide, to guard, to protect, to lead, to guide, to always be there. . .

. . . as now the child reluctantly finds herself becoming the parent,
the lonely role of grown-up. . .

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6