Forrest Church and I were good friends, the kind we savor for their lifting of spirits ands mood. We were seated on the deck of his summer home on Shelter Island, and I love sipping my wine and playing rich. It was a hot sticky day in August, and the breezed were mere wisps and not the least refreshing.
Ironically, we had been talking about our sons, Frank and Justin, and how they were painfully plodding their way into early adulthood. We even considered writing a book together for Father’s Day, a simple devotional piece, until we erupted in laughter at the revelation we were equally lousy Dads.
Frank suddenly strode out to the water with his personalized kayak held aloft over his head. He announced he was paddling to the lighthouse and back. We wished him well, and savored the notion we need not follow. Frank was about fifty years from shore when a bowling lane rumble was heard, and the wind suddenly shifted and cooled. White capped chop soon appeared on of the water, and a slight drizzle became a steady pelt.
In just a few jarring moments, a full blown tempest was unleashed. Forrest placed the New York Times “Art and Leisure” section over his head, and went to the railing of the deck – he sought in vain to spot Frank and the kayak. The lightning crackled, and the thunder played like a symphony of bass drums – and the worry swarmed. Forrest scanned the horizon as if he was a spectator at Wimbledon.
Suddenly a hole was poked through the sky, and a shaft of sun shot through. There in that momentary spotlight was Frank, paddling madly and making inching progress. However he waved and we both imagined him laughing and loving the battle with nature.
It was then that Eternity crawled through the hole as well. I looked at Forrest’s face, and noticed his wet eyes, and his cheeks fresh pinked glow of relief and joy. A smile was literally wrapped around his head. He had become the visual aid of the human capacity for love. I was awed by its simple beauty and promise and hope of beholding his splendid face,
O, Lord of Lent, we trust Lent to eventually reveal a shaft of Easter. This glorious light will illuminate for us the challenge to love every child on earth with the amazing intensity of Forrest for Frank. Lent speaks Truth, the transforming Word of God, and reveals All God’s children are indeed our children, and our responsibility. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.