In this area there is always a cool front to blow in approximately two weeks before All Saints Day, and the coolness of which ne’er lingers, so that it is always warmer on Halloween than it was two weeks before. You hear the old timers talk about it, and its in the Farmer’s Almanac.
Last night it was one of those warm, clear sky evenings, with clouds low on the horizon, full of what I’ve heard old timers call “heat lightning”. This morning it is overcast, unseasonably cool.
It is also the fourth of a four day weekend, and as I write there is little traffic along my normally quiet street, made thus all the more quiet for the lack of activity.
So, this past Saturday I set myself to a task which has been strongly on my mind and heart to do on behalf of my daughter: I opened for her her own saving account at a credit union. I was prepared to do the same for my son, even, though his attitude towards money is a bit different, and having a savings account for him would not have accomplished the same purposes (in his mind) as I feel it did for my daughter (in her mind).
In the moment I surmised, hopefully with some degree of accuracy, that his having the immediate, cash-on-hand access to his money (along with my willingness to hope to and take him to whatever store he felt like visiting) produces in him (among many, many effects) both that sense of efficacy in attaining to his desires, and that sense of my willing desire on his behalf. After I took his sister to the bank, I took him to the store for that very purpose, and the overwhelming gratitude (and the loving responses) suggest I got close to producing that needed whatever of togetherness.
Different children, different needs, different approaches, I suppose.
For my daughter, in part, it was providing similar sense(s) to her, but more importantly it was a desire to “establish her in the land,” so to speak, of civil entity status — just more in the way of social persona crafting. She is, as I’ve said, at that developmental stage where she is growing in a social self-awareness, just as she has spent these past years developing her sense of physical self and personal self. Just as one day she will develop her sense of her intellectual and belief/believing self. All in their time, in their season at their respective stages.
In this stage of her life she is developing a knowledge of herself socially, and that will entail growing sense of personal autonomy. A bank account is just one element, one way for her to triangulate her self within the world and know, because I was a part of setting it up on her behalf, my faith and belief in her. This is one tiny boundary of “her”: her money, her account, before the eyes of society and others, an account to do with as she pleases, and which allows her a resource pool from which to draw to define herself through choice and action.
The thing is, this is important, her being able to be her own person, and that is something I care to bend myself to go before her in and to aid with establishing her in. I am definitely not going to leave her to do it outside the umbrella of my protection and guardianship of her.
I have to thoroughly believe this is a model of the father-heart of God for us. Christ said, he went away to prepare a place for us, and if he goes he will then return. God in the Old Testament established His people within the land, it was part of His promises. His laws were to establsh them in continuing safety within the land, as we read frequently expressed in Deuteronomy.
So, I didn’t realize it until my own father died, but once he passed I felt outside of his umbrella. I hadn’t ever seen him or even knew him as a protecting figure in my life. Hell, he was hardly even a present figure, even when I was there visiting. That was a surprising and unexpected thing for me, when he died: feeling the absence of his umbrella, his covering, maybe his protection (even having never known or experienced it). I wonder at the impact to someone when a father is actively that umbrella. It is perhaps in this place of absence that I hear the verse, “the Name of the Lord is a strong tower and refuge for those that believe” — where I need to hear it, though it be no less true for others who had present fathers.
I have seen for my son my having been that present umbrella, as when some knuckleheaded children were carelessly and negligently throwing rocks on a playground and hitting him as a consequence. I am known for a deep, baritone booming voice, and those children experienced it with a full authority behind it, to be sure — my son is my glory, and they trespassed him. Always with my son I see where I can be better, rise up more to a better fathering, so I can’t presume I do this well, but neither can I fathom in the slightest another father intentionally or lazily or selfishly not being a covering for his children. My problem encountered here then is the question of my childhood, what to make of it. And then, that verse: the name of the Lord is a strong tower and refuge, and therein we, I find strength.
An interesting and rather random note: after the bank and the store we went with friends to the State Teen Fiction something or other held at a local university with some friends. While there, manning a table for an author they knew, were the wife and child of the small town pastor who led my father’s funeral services. R-A-N-D-O-M! In that moment, in that place where I felt so out of place, with those two people, I felt my real world expand, like tasting again a fatherland which yet still remains far off. It seems the pull on my focus of immediate, exigent life, with all its routines, as well as griefs, has distracted me from such awareness.