We were three pictures away from Grandma’s. Three state lines to cross before reaching our traditional vacation destination. Three times that Daddy would rouse his kids from car games or slumber against the station wagon window.
“We’re crossing another state line. Let’s get our picture,” he announced from the front driver’s seat. His answer was a mix of yawns, snorts, and moans.
“Do we have to?” we whined in unison.
“Yes, we want to remember our family trip years from now,” he said.
“We don’t want to,” I spoke for all of us.
“It’ll only take a moment.”
“My hair’s messed up.”
“You look great. C’mon!” Despite our grumbling, Daddy kept his jovial attitude. He wanted a picture for his kids to remember where we traveled and what we saw.We tumbled out of the car. Four kids, Mom and Dad, and our Chihuahua, El Toro. Daddy lined us up. We leaned against the metal sign posts and rolled our eyes as he took the next 300 seconds to adjust every aperture and setting on his new Canon camera. Then he realigned us under the “Welcome to _________.” You fill in the state, and we have the picture.
Slides actually. Carefully dated and stacked in order in the scratched and dented metal box Daddy purchased to store our memories. I flipped the two latches down, now stiff from years of neglect and disuse. I peeled back the duct tape Daddy put on either side of the locks, probably as extra insurance in case the chest fell off the top shelf in his closet.
Inside, our childhood memories. Every state line we crossed, every Easter egg we hunted. I lingered over houses we moved into, Santas we visited and Christmas gifts we opened under the silver tinsel tree in our living room. In an afternoon, I watched myself and my family grow and grow up under my dad’s watchful eye.
I mumbled a prayer to thank Daddy and apologized for grousing at every state welcome sign. I hoped he heard it from his front seat in heaven. Now, I treasured Dad’s tradition and heard him say again, “Remember our trips. Where we traveled, what we did.” And I do. Every time I cross a state line and spy a “Welcome to” sign.
God encouraged His children to remember their road trip, too. As He led the Israelites through the desert, He often repeated one word, “Remember.” Remember escaping slavery in Egypt to crossing the Red Sea and Jordan on dry land. Remember victories over enemies and daily provision. Remember that God, their Father, went to great lengths to save and shape them no matter how many times they complained or turned their backs on Him. Remember and pass the stories on to future generations so that they, too, might seek and know His love.
Mom always said, “Your father lives for you kids. He loves you and will do anything for you.” Today, Father’s Day, I celebrate my father and my Father. I remember their mighty acts of love.
Leave a comment: what mighty acts of love and tradition do you remember about your father?
“Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” (Deuteronomy 32:6-7)
©2012 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.