Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
She was cute as a button, swim goggles in place, her pink one-piece suit a perfect complement to her sandy brown hair, which hung in a ponytail off the back of her head. She was three years old, not a grandchild of mine, though she could have been. She bounced out of the pool again and again. Up the stairs, her wet body leaving a trail of water as she bounced to a predetermined spot on the pool deck; a few feet below her father waited in the warm water. “Am I safe daddy, am I safe?”
Cleared for take-off she launched herself two inches in the air, splashing down into the loving arms of the man entrusted to care for her. “Am I safe daddy, am I safe?”
It was obvious that she had been coached on pool safety. “Am I safe daddy, am I safe?” Gasping for air, all she needed was a little push from dad and she was on her way through the water, toward the stairs and another magical flight. The glee of a child at play is among the most precious of human observations. The absolute trust she placed in her father was likely to last another eight or nine years.
Throughout our lives, we yearn for security and safety. The world is not exactly a safe place, and security can be little more than an illusion. It was just a matter of time before the little girl tripped on stairs, slipped on the wet deck, or bumped heads with the dad who sought to catch her. No matter how strictly she observes the rules, or how diligently dad tries to protect her, tears and heartache are always close at hand. In reality, we have little protection from random accidents, a simple misstep, or the ravages of aging.
“Am I safe daddy, am I safe?” The cycle continued for 35 minutes or so as I closed my eyes, the rays of the sun warming my vitamin D deprived skin. Then I was shocked by the sudden silence. I opened my eyes to see a beautiful little three-year-old asleep on her father’s shoulder. He moved gently around the pool tenderly holding the one entrusted to his care.
It is magical and exhausting caring for a little one. Skinned knees, snack time and nap time, most of their problems can be solved. As the years pass the relationships and the problems become more complex.
“Am I safe daddy, am I safe.?” We seek safety and security. But life happens and life is predictably unpredictable and fraught with danger. The Psalmist writes, “_I lift up my eyes to the hills — from where is my help to come?_”
I have reflected upon the metaphor of that afternoon at the pool. How dependent we are in our youth, how seemingly independent we are in our middle years, and how at the end of life we return to the shoulder of the one entrusted to care for us. Exhausted from a journey of a thousand jumps into the pool of life, we lay our head down to rest. “Am I safe daddy, am I safe?” You are safe my child, you are in my arms, you are home.
Keep laughing, keep jumping, keep splashing, and trust in something outside of your understanding; yes, my child, you are safe.