I looked forward to riding with Dad. I treasured it*. It was not about the task of getting to a destination. (Although it was better to ride with him mornings into town; Dad to the office and me to school, than ride the bus). Mostly it was about the treasure of joining him in his work at home in the country, at the start of a Saturday.
The best was riding on the back of the tractor; an International Harvester — Farmall, shiny red in the bright sun. With a sickle bar off to the right side, he would methodically mow the back field. Finally being “old enough,” I would rightly stand on the back hitch, free of the small gear box, and tightly hang on to the back of his seat, my arms on both sides of him.
There was an intimacy there; father and son. There was the day at hand, and there was a job to be done. Sometimes we would talk over the noise of the working tractor. Sometimes not. That never bothered me, because I was simply with him in it. That was enough.
We didn’t talk strategy. No dialog about how to best get the job done; the better way. No discussion about where I’d rather go, how I would do it, nor how long it would take. Dad knew.
It was Father’s work, and I simply joined him in it. I can still see his work gloves gladly grasping the steering wheel, his work boots planted firmly on the tractor peddles. Dad would masterfully drive the tractor, guiding the sickle bar over the uneven and over-grown field. With a sharp blade viciously sliding between extended teeth, it would rapidly cut through the standing grass, as if without mercy. Behind would be a swath of field grass laid down. At the same time I would be so close to Dad that I could even see the back of his favorite flannel shirt slowly getting soaked under the noonday sun. From my perspective, I was with Dad and it was good.
At break of our day how often do we look forward to riding WITH Father? How much are we seeking intimacy with Him in it? With a job to do, so much to be done in limited time, do we stumble off into the day ahead, solo? After all, we know best how to “get ‘er done” for Him. But with Him? Perhaps with only time for a respectful nod to Father, or a quick wink as we head out the door into the “field,” are we feebly most able.
Yet truthfully Father is already ahead of us in the open Field. He knows it so much better than we do. He even knows the location of dangerous dips or woodchuck holes that lie ahead, hidden beneath tall grass, threatening stability of the tractor. He knows best what and how, it is to be done; doing so patiently at His own pace rather than ours.
If “this is my Father’s world” with the advance of His Kingdom in His Country at hand, why would we venture out where we’d rather go, getting as much done as possible for as long as we think we can stand it? Wouldn’t it be better to see what Father is doing and join Him in it?
At the start of your day, do you look forward to riding with Dad?
* [Not everyone reading this have “happy memories of Dad.” Perhaps quite the opposite. If this is you, my heartfelt apology and empathy. The intention here is only to think of a truly and purely good father.]