I hid under the sheets, hoping to surprise my daughter when she came upstairs for bedtime, and prayers, and a weird ritual we have sometimes called “lumpy bed” where I pretend not to know that she’s there and pretend to just lay down in bed and then complain that there are so many lumps and wind up tickling her a little “trying to smooth out the lumps.”
And I noticed something that I don’t think had ever risen fully to my conscious mind before. My daughter has a smell. It is her shampoo, her sweat, her whatever and it filled my nose as I lay there, trying to keep quiet, trying to preserve the surprise.
I remembered the day when she was born, the first time I held her in my arms, the knowledge that there was a greater love than I knew at work in my life now, something I would surely die for and even more so, something I would give everything for. I have been proud and disappointed, joyful and sorrowful; I have wept with her and celebrated great victories.
She is my daughter. The greatest gift I have known in life, a blessing that showed me what grace truly is, what it really is meant to be. I did nothing to deserve her; none of us deserve the chances we get to love and nurture another person into being, into adulthood, into a life lived with purpose and hope and faith.
But like Salvation, like the love of God that comes unbidden and unearned into our lives she is there, all of them are there in our homes and in our hearts and we are entrusted with their care and their future in the very same way we have been entrusted with this world and all the people in it, to love and to nurture, to instill hope and teach about love. We have the opportunity to shape and to change the world for the better.
The smell of that gift is so sweet it makes my eyes water as I write this. To know how much we have been loved and how much trust that comes with is the real gift of the Body of Christ and to know that we must not set that trust aside but embrace it is our truest calling as disciples.
We wrestled and tickled and then prayed and she went to sleep. All in all, a good end to a fine day.