Today's daily devotion

Opening

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.—PROVERBS 10:12 (RSV)

My father looked smaller than before, sitting on his hospital bed, his hair unkempt, his face unshaven. I sat on a sofa several feet away from him, enshrouded in a yellow hospital paper gown, gloved and masked, precautions taken to protect me from his MRSA infection. But more than anything, I kept my heart protected. From him. We’d never had a good relationship. We’d been in this cycle for nine months now: hospital, rehab, home; repeat. I was exhausted by it all.

“Do you remember Ollie?” he asked suddenly out of nowhere, his voice weak. His question surprised me.

“I do,” I answered. Every so often, we’d go to the park and a tree would “talk” to me, but it only happened when my dad and I were together. The tree’s name was Ollie.

“You loved Ollie the tree.” Dad smiled, clearly transported back in time, remembering a seven-year-old me, sitting next to the tree.

“I was sad when I’d go by myself and he wouldn’t talk to me,” I told my father. “The only times he did, telling me about his adventures with the other trees, were when I was with you.” I smiled and leaned toward him. “You were Ollie, weren’t you?”

My dad grinned, but didn’t answer my question. “I’m so happy you’re here. It really means a lot to me.”

“I’m glad I came, too, Dad.” I walked over to his bed and squeezed his hand through my gloves.

Lord, help me with the ongoing work of opening my heart to my loved ones, even when the past has been painful.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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