My daughter's hero...the "Daddy" Action Figure...
Life has become a race to see how long I can maintain the lead in being my daughter’s hero. There are other competitors vying for the top spot. I can see them catching up to me as I circle the track. They used to be so much further behind than they are now; I used to think they couldn’t possibly challenge my position as the frontrunner. I no longer feel so confident.
I can hear the pounding furry of feet on the track right behind me. Not just one challenger, but a pack of challengers eager to usurp my rightful place and to take the lead. It scares me that someone other than Heidi or I might “take the lead” in my daughter’s lives, but there’s coming a day. If it doesn’t happen through the tension of peer pressure in school, there will be man who will intersect their life and take their tender eyes off of me. He will take the lead, take them from me…I will fall into second place and increasingly eat the dust his heels kick up. I’m having a hard time knowing that “second place” is on the horizon one way or another.
Right now, I’m the man in their lives. They kiss me and me alone. They snuggle with me and me alone. They pray with me and play with me…I am the boy in their little world. I am the strength they rest under; I am the male figurehead, the masculine presence that functions as the “joy of their desiring”. I am. Other boys might induce a crush, but their love for me crushes any crush, outloves any love. I stand alone as the defender of their hearts. Not to be sacrilegious, but in their eyes, “I am that I am”. They don’t know any differently, not yet anyway. But they will; it’s only a matter of time.
Right now I get the sense that they would buy an “action figure” of me if it were available at Toys ‘R Us. (I’ve been thinking about creating one for them.) I can sense at times that I am that heroic to them. That otherworldly. Just last week I was singing a song I wrote for them and the way they looked at me spoke of something akin to “worship”…hero worship. As I was finishing the song I shuttered at the place I have in their hearts right now. I am still in “first place”. I may not be for long, but for now I am and it’s a powerful treasure to hold in the palm your hand. I have them wrapped around my finger. But the tie is loosening with every year.
They will increasingly come to realize that I am far from the “I AM”. In many ways, they will see very clearly that my name is “I AM NOT”. I am not the all-seeing one, the all-knowing deity, and the all-powerful figure of indestructible, impenetrable strength. They will increasingly see my flaws, the chinks in my armor, and the thorns in my side. They will come to know my gaping gaps…my mortality, my humanity.
But for now “I am”. I am their picture of God. I play a God-like role in their world. I paint the picture of what it feels like to be loved by God, touched by God, talked to by God, hugged by God, kissed by God, watched by God, swung around by God, read to by God, whispered “I love you” by God. I still am “action hero”-worthy in their eyes.
The last few days, I can hear the sound of feet catching up to me. I am in first place today, but there is coming a day when I may not even be in the race in their eyes. I will be on the sidelines cheering them on as their biggest fan. It is a hard transition from the frontlines to the sidelines. But in either role, they will know that I am “for” them…completely and competitively for them.
Today “I am”.
Tomorrow “I am not”.