What the banner says
The results that returned were crushing. It was cancer, widespread and malicious. Roaring in like a wildfire with a searing heat, flames devouring, it blazed right through, and in several short months, he was gone.
Later, I text her. They’ve buried her papa, tucking his frame ‘neath a blanket of green, planted in hope for that great One Day. Then they say their goodbyes, and they come back home to resume daily life with him missing.
Then my text. “If you want to stop in on your way by,” I say, “we’ll have a meal here so you don’t have to think about cooking.” And then, here she is on my doorstep.
We talk there in my yard about his last days, final weeks, how it happened. “But weren’t they just up here to see you several weeks ago?” I say, amazement in my voice.
“Yes, they were. He came to serve us. Daddy came to serve. He fixed this and that and the other thing, and one afternoon, we had this time, so he and I, we sat on the front porch and just talked. I asked him all kinds of questions that day. I asked his advice about raising the kids.” A lump is rising in my throat, and my sweet, blonde friend, she’s crying. “I knew it was the last chance I’d have…”
Tears are leaking straight down; I can’t help it. For life down here, it’s hard, and it hurts, and the hard things don’t always get fixed.
“When they left, Daddy took my face in his hands. He said he was proud of me, and he called me by his pet names.” Watery eyes? Oh, I’ve got ’em. What a father she had!
“Our family’s not perfect. We have our issues. But at the end, my mom crawled in bed with Daddy, and she cradled him and kissed on him and called him her Beloved, and I told her later, ‘Thank you, Mom. That was a gift!’”
After thinking over my friend’s story, this is what I’ve come to. Not everyone has been gifted with a dad as loving or involved as hers was. You may never have known such tenderness from your earthly father. But there’s this…
If you’ve been adopted by Father God, then you do have One who cups your face in His hands. He calls you by name. He sings over you (yes, He does ’cause He said so), and His banner over you is love.
Love. A banner, flying high, flying proud just above your head, dear friend, and I think perhaps it says this, “I’m proud of you, and I love you forever. Signed, Father.”
Most warmly, then,