sure, any time
I don’t know what she first thought when she saw those shoes, empty and waiting carefully, almost in anticipation just there in front of the chair, but I know she recognized them as her father’s. The knowledge that he would surely need them soon arrested her progress, stopped her cold in the middle of certain dedication to her tasks.
He’ll have to have those to go to work.
You must understand. The obsessive, iron-fisted grip of her responsibilities—her lists and lists and lists, some written, some memorized–keeps her working, pressing toward all things checked off, even when her red-rimmed eyes blur tired and her body sighs beneath the burden. She will not–indeed, cannot–be deterred, despite our best explanations, our most stalwart urging otherwise. It’s enough for today, I’ll sometimes say, planting a kiss on her forehead, brushing back the brassy stray strands of hair. Mmmhmm, you’re right, she’ll blearily agree, right before she places a hand on her hip in front of the white board and declares, “Okay, now I have to…” Our entreaties make her sigh again, as though she’s wondering when we’ll learn that no matter what she knows, she has to finish. Sometimes we gently lift the marker from her hands and check off every box right in front of her so that she’ll feel free.
In the middle of just such a faithful vocation, Riley sees her daddy’s shoes waiting in front of the chair. And she stops. She casts aside her preoccupation with other things and bends to pick them up, hair falling over her eyes in golden strands, long fingers carefully brushing across the leather. Sleep still clings cozily in the shadowy valleys below her eyes. She knows exactly where her dad sits bent over His Bible reading; she knows he has one hand wrapped around a steaming mug; she knows he prepares for the day ahead. And she knows he’ll need his shoes before he goes to work. Quietly, Riley walks into the office, careful not to disturb, gently and precisely placing the shoes in front of her father’s sock-clad feet. She does not expect anything in return, not even his recognition, but noticing her humble gesture, this sacrificial service that welcomes the interruption of her own agenda, he looks up and smiles, delighted. “Thank you,” he says simply.
“Sure, any time,” she says, and not in the voice she reserves for repeated things–for there are many things she says repeatedly for her own comfort. “It’s my pleasure.” No, the rich tone with which she speaks to him now reveals the genuine source of her giving: love. She loves her dad, so of course she delights to serve Him, and she sees the action not as an interruption but as an opportunity. This morning, hers is the smallest and plainest of expressions, but for me, it makes solid, significant impact:
Deepest Love for God my Father reveals itself clearly both in the devoted attention I employ unto searching out opportunities to serve Him–indeed, the significance I place on advancing His progress in this needy world, and in the ability of this supreme occupation to suspend and preoccupy my own set plans.
No matter what fills a day, loving Him should make me thoroughly interruptible.