His hand touched my face, awakening me as he stretched and relaxed against my frame. Instantly I was transported to a season in time when I would tuck his small head into my armpit and his toes would reach only to my waist. Now, 3 years later, clad in his favorite lime green and white "Buzz Lightyear" uniform jammies, his toes reach all the way to my knees.
I lay in bed listening to him breathe, soaking in his sweet presence knowing that if I give in to my aching bladder, he would not feel my warmth and would awaken, eager to join his brothers out in the living room for the "while mommy wakes up" cartoons. I lingered, smelling his golden head, watching his lips move like he was giving instructions even in his sleep. He slept in his own bed most of the night, but just like God designed us, he longed for the warmth of the presence of someone he loved.
My Dad is a Police and Fire Chaplain in South Seattle. He has taught me a lot about the "ministry of presence". He is really great at his job. Over seven years, he has earned the trust of those he serves just by being there. Consistently. He attends training nights, regularly rides along, gives wisdom and insight only when asked and otherwise is just there with them.
Talking with him in the course of his years of trauma scenes, death notifications, CPR in progress calls, etc, I asked him how he does his job, REALLY. I am a talker. I love to encourage and to support and to pray and to fill up space with words, on the paper or in the air...
Dad, he is not. He is present. He told me he sees his job is to bring Christ into whatever situation he is called to be in. He is very aware, because of his personal relationship with Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in him, wherever he goes, God is there. His ministry is presence. He is there. People's lives have been touched because my Dad shows up. His faithfulness, loyalty and reliability goes beyond his calling as chaplain, it is his character.
This morning, the activities of the day had to wait for a little bit longer, so my son could be in my presence. He came in to our room early this morning seeking it. When he found it, he rested in it. I need to do that with God. Seek Him out (it's not like I have to look far, He's always with me) and rest in His presence.