After a long, enjoyable day worshiping with the saints at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in L.A., having lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles on Manchester, and visiting the sad and instructive American I Am exhibit at Exposition Park, we came home and relaxed for a couple hours before putting our napless son to bed early.
After working on a small seminary assignment for a bit, I took a break and ended up skimming over one of my old poems, written to Judah when he turned six months old, before I had ever met him. I was amazed, as I often am, at how quickly he’s grown. Woe to those who see, too late, that time has wings.
Since he’d been in bed for at least an hour, I was certain that Judah would be asleep. Recognizing (in one of those moments of clarity) that time waits for no one, I put my work on pause and got up to go see my sleeping son. I glanced around to check which light I should turn off before opening his door, and decided on the hall light. I passed by the open door to the guest room where Cindi was working, and she asked if I was heading to bed. “No,” I said. “I’m going to see the buddy.”
“Is he talking?” she asked, wondering if I might’ve heard his four-year-old voice discussing basketball or telling stories to himself. “No, I think he’s asleep.”
I reached the end of the hallway and put my ear to the door to make sure my answer to Cindi’s question was still correct. Hearing nothing, I gently squeezed the door handle and softly swung the door open a couple feet, squeezing sideways through the opening along with the dim light from the living room. I closed the door behind me and stepped toward the bed, only able to make out broad shapes as my eyes dilated. Still adjusting, I stood and leaned over the bed, only able to hear the restful sandpaper breathing of this little Ugandan boy who is more precious to me than my life.
Realizing that it would take a few minutes for my eyes to fully adjust, I sat down and leaned back against the twin bed across from his. As I sat in the darkness listening to this little human shape breathing rhythmically from beneath his denim-blue comforter, thoughts and prayers floated through my mind that only a father could understand.
Gradually, like the Bethsaidan blind man (Mark 8:22-26), the familiar shapes in Judah’s room began turning into objects — shelf to my right, open closet door to my left, air conditioner in the wall above his bed. I leaned forward and looked more carefully, and there was his four-year-old head peaking out from beneath the covers, buried deep into his crumpled pillow. I wanted to touch him without waking him, so I reached over and gently patted his thick coily hair.
I sat back, holding my knees in my arms, and looked at him again. And as the fatherly sentiments and intercessions continued flooding my mind, in the darkness of my son’s room, it struck me:
Right now God is looking down on me in the same way.