Monday, September 13, 2010

How Deep is the Ocean, How High is the Sky?

John is 4 months today. This also happens to be the 7th anniversary of the day my father died. Which might seem like it puts a morbid spin on things. For some reason this year I've been feeling a little down on the eve of this anniversary- more so than in the past. It's funny the way grief ebbs and flows but really never leaves you. But it's not a morbid thing for me. The reason why can be best summed up in these verses:

"For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:53-57

John was named after his grandfather, my dad, John Wallace Pennycook.

A few weeks ago Peter and John and I were all snuggling and Peter remarked to John, "I'm so proud of you!" I asked Peter what he was proud of since John's accomplishments thus far have been limited to those things that have also been achieved by nearly every other person on the planet. Peter replied, "it doesn't matter what he does I'm just proud of him." That's how I feel too. I was proud of his first bowel movement and his first burp. I was proud when he laid there like a helpless sugar lump and I'm proud now that he's rolling over. It's not anything that he does. Or rather, it's everything that he does. I just love him.

When Peter said that I realized that that is the best way I can describe my relationship with my own father. It didn't matter what I did. I knew he'd be proud of me no matter what. There are so many other qualities about my father that made him admired by all who knew him. He was very smart, friendly, energetic. He was the very definition of "people person." He loved music and nature. His house was always open to friends. So I appreciate many things about his character. But many times I've asked myself what made him a great father. (Because I want to try my best to be a great mother.) What I return to again and again is that I didn't have to work to please him. For someone like me who is a people-pleaser, always concerned about offending someone, never quite sure if people like me, it was such a comforting thing to have someone like him in my life. I didn't have to worry what he thought about me, whether I was good enough, if he would still feel the same way if I utterly failed. That brought me so much confidence and stability.

Ultimately it is only God who can accept and love us totally unconditionally. But in giving us parents and children, we see a small glimpse of His love which is so much richer and all-encompassing than ours. His love which is fully expressed in the person of Jesus Christ.

A few years ago I was listening to some 9/11 memorial coverage on the radio and someone quoted a song called How Deep is the Ocean, How High is the Sky?, by Irving Berlin in honor of their loved one who died in the attack. I loved the words. It immediately made me think of my dad.

How can I tell you what is in my heart?
How can I measure each and every part?
How can I tell you how much I love you?
How can I measure just how much I do?

How much do I love you?
I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How many times a day do I think of you?
How many roses are sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?


Vanessa Rogers said...

Leslie, I LOVE this post about your Dad. It was very moving and made me think of all the fun times we had with him. One of my favorite things about your dad was his silliness. He was never afraid to be goofy, like you. What a fantastic grandfather John would have made to little John. I am sure he is looking down from Heaven and smiling down on him though everyday! ;)

Amber Shannon said...

This is such a beautiful post. How wonderful to know that we have a God who is pictured as our Father -- He loves us like that, too. We didn't have to deserve His love in order for Him to give His all for us.

I started a blog a while back, but I haven't done anything with it in a while. I need to work on it.

BTW, I found your blog off of Peter's FB page.

Peter and Leslie said...

Thanks Vanessa and Amber for your sweet comments.

Amber, it is great to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. I saw your FB picture of Irene. She is so big and cute!