Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: The Universe and Me
By Marilee Alvey
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As I grew older, I had become convinced that the world revolved around me. I challenged my father in everything. His optimism was an embarrassment to me as I struggled through teenage angst. We were as oil and water. All I wanted from him was the car keys….and all of the extras I saw as my right for being brought into the world: clothes, car, higher education.
Funny. What I remember most is those riveting eyes of his looking into my soul. He had one brown eye and one blue one. It could be very disconcerting, to say the least.
He started the nightly drill. “Whom? What? Where? How?”
“It’s really none of your business.”
“Son, I believe it is. God put me in charge of you.” It was then that he pulled out the trump card. “You want a car to drive, clothes to eat, college classes. All those things come with a price tag, you know.”
“I suppose you think they’re rewards for good behavior! I didn’t ask to be born. You’re responsible for giving me the things I need to live in this world.”
“Son, come here for a moment.” He grabbed a blanket off the laundry shelf and walked out the screen door to the back yard.
I protested, “I don’t have time,” but I followed him out, intrigued.
“Just five minutes of your time then you can go.”
Dad spread out the blanket and gestured for me to lie down with him on it. We lay there for a few moments, silently gazing up, our arms bent behind our heads.
“Look up at the sky. What do you see?”
“A bunch of stars.”
“The Bible tells us that God’s left his mark on everything so that no one can miss the fact that there is a Creator.”
“Did you ever think how truly small we are?”
“Son, compared to the large scale of the Universe God has created, our Earth is only the size of a flea's eyelash."
“You mean like in Horton Hears a Who?”
Dad laughed. “Yes, I guess that’s about it. Yet, God cares about each one of us and has left his calling card in every place we look.”
“You will be my calling card after I leave this Earth. People will see you and they will remember me. Will your actions be honoring or dishonoring?”
“If we’re so small, then, who cares?”
“That’s the point. God cares. He wants us to love Him just as I hope you love me. However, He won’t abandon us to activities that disgrace Him. He’s not that kind of father. He loves too much. And so do I. God is always around. You can see proof of him in all of Creation, from the biggest star to a baby’s birth.”
“Okay, so what’s your point?”
“My point is this: it isn’t about you. Whether you get the car, the clothes or the education doesn’t even matter in the scheme of things. It’s like this: I try to be like Jesus. You just try to be like me. Hopefully, we’ll both end up being more like Jesus. We’re not here to gain glory for ourselves, but to give glory to God through our lives.”
In the darkness, as we gazed at the vastness of the sky, he challenged me with one simple question.
He then raised up on one elbow and handed me the car keys: five minutes which changed not only my night’s destination but the course of my life.
My son’s cry jolts me back. I gaze through tears at my son and wish with all of my heart that my dad had lived to see him…..but wait…. Brushing away the tears that have gathered, I marvel at a new face I already know and laugh…..at his eyes, one brown and one blue.
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