Two days ago my son asked if he could go mountain biking with me. I have gone mountain biking before with my two sons, but this time it was obvious that he wanted to go without his brother. I asked him if he wanted to take his brother and he hesitated. When my wife and I told him that it was okay to ask to go without his brother he said that is exactly what he wanted. Yesterday I felt like junk. My leg hurt, I was fighting off a cold (in June, come on!), and I was tired because of that. However, one of my children asked for time alone with me and they were going to get it. Mostly because it doesn’t happen that often.
So yesterday I went riding with my son, and it was great. We got lost, we got muddy, we got tired (well I got tired). During the ride I asked him if he wanted to go uphill or downhill and he said “well if I go up hill it will make my legs stronger, so let’s go uphill”. When I asked him if he wanted to go on a more difficult trail or just head back, he said he wanted to go on the more difficult trail. Lately he has been big on manhood tests, I think that this had something to do with it.
At the end of the day we came back and I asked him if he had fun and he said:
“What I would give to have time alone with you.”
He was actually thinking about what he would sacrifice to get time alone with his dad. This caught me off guard. As I am writing this I am actually trying to figure out if there is a more that I could do to make that phrase jump out of the computer to show just how powerful that query was to me. My son has an amazing way with words. He says things that are so funny that every time I think about it I laugh anew. Interestingly he never seems to understand how potent his words are. He is always surprised at the fact that we find his comments to be so funny; he doesn’t try to be funny.
After I choked back a tear or two I said “we just had time alone together.” Then he did it again! He said:
“No, I mean everyday.”
How can a father live up to that expectation, or that longing in a child’s heart to be with his father? As I write this I am choking up.
I can’t remember the last time that I felt such a longing for time alone with God. I get so wrapped up in myself, my wants, my perceived needs, my life that I sometimes view my relationship with God as a obligation or a contractual arrangement. I know that I have great times with God, but I also know that they don’t normally started off with that longing that my son expressed yesterday morning. Honestly, those times are usually precipitated by something that is bothering me, or something that I want.
However, God longs for time with me. The interesting thing is that he doesn’t need it, but he longs for it anyway.