Monday, June 12, 2006

A Special Father's Day Thank You

There's Nothing Greater
Than Thank You.
That's What You Say To God
...is Thank You.
Dr. Maya Angelou
Thank you Father.
I rose early this morning, and yes, 7am is early. I dropped clothes at the cleaners and with mp3 player in tow, headed to Carl Schultz Park. As I entered the grounds, Jonathan Butler was singing, "Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing I've ever done." My Spirit was as warm as the morning rays and as radiant as the flowers that dotted the landscape.
For five years, I've lived just one NY block away from the East River. For five too-long years, I've lamented the harsh reality that the East River wasn't my beloved Pacific Ocean. For ten years, the Pacific was my oasis - a constant reminder of God's majesty. It was love at first sight. But, this morning is different. I can finally see the beauty that has been flowing just a brief walk from my front door. It was then that I knew today was special and began offering the first of a mighty river of praise.
Thank you Father. Thank you for removing the blinders and allowing me to love all that you've provided. Thank you for allowing me to fondly remember past blessings, yet move forward into the multitude of "here & now" blessings.
Thank you Father.
For only you know the depths of my intense struggle to complete my first book, "Before You Give Up On Him." Earlier this year, you gave me the most beautiful Rose theme for the storyline. I rejoiced in your vision, then proceeded to do what your children do best. I got busy - real busy - trying to validate your gift ad naseum. Lord, give me another sign? Lord, what if...? Lord, can a brother buy a vowel? Surely you laughed at my faith in jeopardy. Oh Alex, let me try "Is That What You Meant Lord" for $500 please.
Surely your patience is wearing thin? Shall I tell them your response? You woke me early this morning-after a weekend of research and writing-and opened my eyes to the multitude of rose gardens that flourish just one block from my front door. Lord, I want you to know that my research wasn't in vain. I identified at least six varieties of roses, and brought home the intoxicating fragrance of the rose known as White Masterpeice. She produces blooms in bunches, more than enough for me to get your not-so-subtle hint. Her soft petals are protected by a bushy mass of sharp, prickly thorns. Her armor pierced my skin, but the pain was well worth the opportunity to bring her sweet fragrance into my home.
Thank you Father. As I stood in the garden, witnessing yet another affirmation of your intent and design for my life's mission, Jonathan Butler's melody and lyrics bring tears to my eyes...
"You spend your days hoping, you spend your nights wishing
You're always feeling, something is missing
Can't you see, don't you know
You don't have so far to go.
It's already there
What you're looking for
It's already there
Don't have to search anymore
Open your eyes
Believe that it's true
It's already there... inside of you."
Thank you Father. That was so intense that I could stop right there. But there's so much more that I'm thankful for. May I share just a little bit more with you?
So many of my family and friends are in the midst of a major life transition. Careers are giving way to Your calling and giving us young'uns a whole new appreciation for the words, Blessed Assurance. We are thankful that the truth contained in those old, dusty hymnals ring true in this digital age. You have been faithful beyond measure. It is because Great is Thy Faithfulness that we stand in agreement that there will be no crisis in these mid-life transitions - just Christ as we minister one to another.
Father, you called Zurnie Neal home this weekend. The message on my voicemail said her passing was sudden and unexpected. She will truly be missed. To her recently departed husband, guess what Poppa Neal? She's baaaaack! I'm sure a day spent in heaven without Mrs. Neal gently telling you what to do must've felt like a hellish eternity. Now, it's salmon croquettes for er'body! To my longtime friend, Gina Neal and the Neal family, I love you dearly.
Father, from the depths of my Spirit I thank you -- for it was you and only you that raised into adulthood some of the most incredible people this side of heaven. We may never understand why their fathers left this earth so soon. But you are an awesome God. Have you checked your handiwork lately? Have you seen the men those Dickerson, Cutler, Hill and Stewart boys have become? Do you blush with admiration when watching Cynthia, Darlene and Jeff? And Uncle Raymond's children... they're soaring Lord. Soaring higher than eagles, yet remaining closer than penguins. The Dearloves? Learning everyday the meaning of by and by, and for that I give you praise. And as for my second family, The Scott Clan, they're blossoming under your care. Ma Scott recently cruised the Carribbean- can you believe that? So, for them, as well as the multitude of those known and unknown whose Father departed this earth too soon, Father, I thank you.
Father, I could go on and on. I really can, but I must get to that job you so graciously provided for me. Before I go, may I offer you just one more thank you?
Thank you Father, for the Prodigal Father, wherever he may be. Thank you for the emptiness he experiences each and every Father's Day. Speak to his spirit Lord, and remind him that the emptiness is not your wrath, but rather your incessant invitation asking, "Do you want to be made whole?" Father, right vs. wrong has waged too long to the detriment of the fatherless child. Remove the blinders so that he may see the most beautiful gift life has to offer. No matter what happened, it's never too late to be a father to your child. Is he feeling too broke to be an asset? Tell my brother that his love is priceless... priceless! Tell him not fear the anger his child waives around like the ultimate trump card. Let us praise the anger as proof that some emotion is better than no emotion. I drew blood for the chance to smell a rose. Children of the Prodigal Father utilize thorns as protection against emotional predators. Love-consistent and true- is the only mechanism capable of restoring trust. But to get close enough to love, the Prodigal Father must remain steadfast amongst the thorns. Let your love overflow into that child and in time, they will blossom. Keep it simple - say what you're going to do and by all means do just that.
To that brother willing to lose himself in order to love his child, Happy Father's Day. To that brother, filled with desire but the ghost of Pharaoh has a death grip on your heart, I'm praying for you. I offer you a Happy Father's Day in anticipation of the breakthrough that's yet coming your way.
And to you, My Father, I offer you in psalm the praise that Jonathan Butler is so sweetly offering in my spirit...
You Are So Wonderful
You Are So Wonderful
You Are So Wonderful
Lamb of God!
With much gratitude, That Johnson Boy!


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