My earliest memories of my father were of laughter. And what I yearned for more than anything was to try and make him laugh. Doing so was better than winning the Heisman and the World Series combined; it was the height of perfection in my little brain. And as the years passed, it remained a high water mark to aim for. Alecia reminded me that it wasn’t only Dad’s refined sense of humor that made it so wonderful to hear him laugh; it was the sound of the laugh itself: a high-pitched cackle that came out of that ear-to-ear smile. When our son Ramsay was born, he and Dad were fast friends. I admit being a bit jealous, though, because it never seemed like Ramsay had any difficulty making Dad laugh. I could tell my Dad “Ramsay Stories” for hours, and he would howl the whole time. It didn't matter what Ramsay did: a story about projectile vomiting would have Dad in stitches.
When Elizabeth was pregnant, I sought Dad’s wisdom about being a father. I remembered when Alecia and I were kids that he was always there with us at breakfast and dinner, and that he was always home on weekends. When I asked him about that, his response still rings in my ears: "You guys were so much fun that I didn't want to miss anything."
I loved that answer, and when I became a father myself, I knew exactly what he meant. I don't want to miss a thing. When Ramsay was born, Dad wasn’t the only one with that ear-to-ear grin. I touched something holy; holding my son in my arms and looking into his face, I got a glimpse of what it must be like to see something created in your image take life. I know Dad must have felt the same way about me and Alecia. And I can't help but wonder if this says anything about how God looks at us.
Scripture often talks about God as "Father." I would be betraying my heritage if I didn't transcend this language to say that God is our parent. Could it be that this parental relationship, which I have been blessed to treasure with my parents and with my son, tells me something about my relationship with God? Could it be that God steadfastly remains in our lives because we are so much fun? Is it possible that the ridiculous things we do make God howl in hysterics? Not a capricious laughter of judgment at our follies and sufferings, but the laughter of pure joy of a God whose deepest desire is to be in relationship with us. Could it be that God so wants to be a part of our lives because there is such divine joy in watching us, holding us, simply in spending time with us? Maybe it’s just that God doesn't want to miss anything.