Thirteen or so years ago my son (then 8) and one of his buddies quietly peered around the door to make sure I was in the room. Sitting on the couch in our den, I was sorting through junk mail, getting ready to watch a football game. They were decked out in camouflage, complete with face paint, plastic guns, helmets, the whole nine yards. Before I was paying attention, two camouflage blurs were flying through the air at me. They landed on the couch, grabbed me and we fell off the couch in a mock fight. We ended up in a ball of laughter on the floor.
Somewhere in the midst of the moment, I felt the Lord telling me to pay careful attention to what was happening. But I didn’t quite get it. What’s the big deal, I thought, about a dad and his son and buddy playing around on the floor on a Saturday afternoon. It took me a while before I got the point, and the point, when I finally saw it, was one of the most beautiful and powerful revelations ever given to me.
The truth is, I did not know my son’s buddy at all. We had never met. I had never even seen him. And if you take my son out of the picture for a moment, and see this unknown boy walk into my den alone, the last thing you would imagine is that he would fly through the air and engage me in play. Presumably, he would have known that I was Mr. Kruger, but there were far too many unknowns for him to approach me with such familiarity. But my son was there, and he knew that I loved him, that he was one of the apples of my eye, and, perhaps, more important, that I liked him. So in the freedom of my love and affection and delight, he did the most natural thing in the world—fly into my arms to play. And his buddy was right there with him. And that was the miracle. I saw my son’s knowledge of my heart, and my son’s relationship with me, and my son’s freedom with me make their way into his friend’s heart—and his buddy got to share in them, to taste and feel and experience my son’s life with me. He played in it with us. It was all so simple, but there it was, a living parable of the gospel itself.
This story is used in both of my books, The Secret and Home, both available as free downloads on our web site (perichoresis.org).