After the gorge of Thanksgiving dinner, after the table has been cleared and Randa is finally able to shift out of holiday gear, we sit together on the small couch in the TV room. Some of the other adults sit on the larger couch. A couple of the men sit in the large doorway between the dining room and TV room. One of the teenagers sits on the hassock, playing with one of the dogs. He scratches her ears and ruffles the loose skin on her neck.

Ann Marie, who is the only female here less than thirty years old, ignores her brother for a while and comes and sits on my lap.

She is jam-packed with energy and imagination and a persistent inclination to find very good reasons for doing something other than what she has been told to do. She apparently cannot walk past any knob, lever, dial or switch without turning it, flipping it, rotating it or otherwise manipulating it. I would say that if she’s not sleeping, she’s in motion. However, Dan and Christie say that even when she’s sleeping she’s still in motion, twisting and flipping and flopping about in her bed.

She is certainly in motion on my lap: twisting, squirming, bouncing and talking a mile a minute. After a bit, she turns around so that she is facing me. I lift up both hands in what a reasonable and prudent adult would mistake for a sign of obvious surrender. Ann Marie knows that I’m inviting her to play Pat-A-Cake or something similar.

She starts slapping my hands vigorously. I pull one hand away and then the other and she catches the cue to start alternating hands. I start slowly, then increase the pace until it becomes staccato. After a few turns of that, Ann Marie starts pushing against my hands, trying to force them backwards. I yield to that until my hands touch my shoulders, then push her back until she is lying against my knees. “Again!” she yells and we do it again.

After each turn, she demands, “Again, Papa Doc; do it again!”

I’ve gained enough wisdom and lost enough strength over the years to know I’m not going to wear her out with this game. It is a delight to me, though, to see the delight in her eyes and to have her close like this. When grandchildren live five hundred miles away, there are too few of these moments and we cherish this closeness, this brief pleasure, this simple sharing.

I think our heavenly Father enjoys such moments, too, when we delight in His presence, revel in His closeness. I bet His eyes light up when we experience the nearness of His Spirit, rejoice in the divine nature and cry out to Him, “Again, Papa God, again!”

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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