Family and Kids

The Kiss of Mercy

by Steve Ray on August 28, 2019

My daughter-in-law Anna is very insightful about spiritual things, and in raising our grandkids. Couldn’t ask for a better daughter (in-law, though we consider her our daughter by now :-) She put this up on her FaceBook page a while ago and I was compelled to share it again. Janet and I read this with tears in our eyes WHILE WE WERE IN THE CONFESSIONAL LINE this Saturday. Wow!

The Kiss of Mercy

“Kiss me!” – My young son looked up at me with this imploring demand. I look down upon my passionate, impulsive son observing his pain and anguish. His face is contorted and pleading. The pain he is experiencing is emotional, his center of well being is off.

The Father RUNS to his sinful prodigal son

He feels my displeasure at his most recent misbehavior and he desperately longs to restore the relationship. Without hesitation, I reach down, pull his small, tense body into mine and kiss his upturned lips. Instantly, as if a switch has been flipped, his body relaxes and all is restored.

Oh, how our Lord wishes we would behave as this young child! Multiple times a day, my son will behave in a less than virtuous manner. And yet, he does not despair, does not hide his pain and wrongdoing.

He comes running with all of his misery into my merciful arms. At the young age of 3, he has grasped what many of us have not. His sin is not a condemnation, it is an opportunity to receive mercy and healing. It is an opportunity to restore and strengthen the one relationship to him that is his whole world.

How can this be? Because our Lord said it was so. Hear his words, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” See and feel his actions. Focus your heart on his passion.

Call to mind the scourging. The whip is in your hand. Your pride, anger, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, and lust rush upon His body with a fury. He already sees it and knows it, admit to it yourself and become aware of the reality of your sin and misery. 

But don’t let it end there! Once all the dark passion within you is spent, fall to your knees. Look divine love in the face. Fix your gaze on him and let his gaze penetrate yourself. And then say to him, “It was not in vain. Kiss me!”

Allow divine love to hold you, as the sweet pain of that kiss courses through your body. Hold fast in trust, as it probes and burns away the dark places and secret misery within you. Experience the gift of merciful love as he transforms you each moment that you come to him demanding and trusting in that mercy again and again and again.

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I have to admit I laughed — but also had a great sense of DAD-NESS when I heard this song. How did I discover it? My lovely then-21-year-old daughter Charlotte came in with a smile and said, “Dad, want to hear a song that reminds me of you?” I did and we listened to it together. I was proud ‘cuz I fight for my girls!  It’s my job — and my pleasure! I love them!

To enjoy this country song though — really — you have to listen to it with the volume turned up! I have posted a YouTube of the song with lyrics below for your listening pleasure.

All the boys who came into my little girls’ lives (Cindy, Charlotte, and Emily) all heard my “broken knee speech.” It went like this, “I love my girls and if you want to be friends with them you are now accountable to me. You will treat them with great respect. If you ever touch them wrongly or mistreat them, I will break both your knees. Don’t laugh, I am deadly serious!”

Top picture: Charlotte and I at a Father-Daughter Camp about 1995; Middle picture: Church Father-Daughter Dance in 2002; Third picture: Charlotte and I, 12 years ago when she told me about the song and before she went out to vote No-bama. Last Picture: Charlotte today with wonderful husband Wes Sorrill and their two kids Charlie and Linnea.

She was well worth every minute of my time, love and efforts. I love this girl!

Artist: Atkins Rodney
Song: Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy)
Album: If You’re Going Through Hell

The Declaration of Independence
Think I could tell you that first sentence
But then I’m lost

I can’t begin to count the theories
I’ve had pounded in my head
That I forgot

I don’t remember all that Spanish
Or the Gettysburg address
But there is one speech from high school
I’ll never forget

(Chorus)
Come on in boy sit on down
And tell me about yourself
So you like my daughter do you now?
Yeah we think she’s something else
She’s her daddy’s girl
Her momma’s world
She deserves respect
That’s what she’ll get
Ain’t it son?
Hey y’all run along and have some fun
I’ll see you when you get back
Bet I’ll be up all night
Still cleanin’ this gun

Well now that I’m a father
I’m scared to death one day my daughter
Is gonna find
That teenage boy I used to be
That seems to have just one thing on his mind

She’s growin’ up so fast
It won’t be long before
I’ll have to put the fear of God into
Some kid at the door

IMG_5819Now it’s all for show
Ain’t nobody gonna get hurt
It’s just a daddy thing
And hey, believe me, man it works

(Chorus)
Come on in boy sit on down
And tell me about yourself
So you like my daughter do you now?
Yeah we think she’s something else
She’s her daddy’s girl
Her momma’s world
She deserves respect
That’s what she’ll get
Now ain’t it son?
Y’all run along and have a little fun
I’ll see you when you get back
Probably be up all night
Still cleanin’ this gun

Son, now y’all buckle up and have her back by – let’s say about nine…thirty.
Drive safe.

(By the way, Charlotte is still a great girl, a fabulous wife and terrific mom with a wonderful husband who started out as a medic in Iraq and is now a doctor in South Carolina. And yes, even though he was younger and tougher than me, I DID get him the “broken knees” speech as soon as I met him the first time!)

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I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.)

My Great Grandmother is bottom right

They were literate people back in those days. Detroit was in its glory days (oh, how it has fallen). The culture still believed in God; they still had a sense of honor, morality and natural law – all honoring Nature’s God.

During some cleaning and organizing, we dug through dusty old books gathered from family archives and attics. I am the family archivist now working on genealogies and digitizing old photos.

We came across a tattered and brittle piece of paper, yellowed with age. It was buried in the binding of an old book. On it was the handwritten script of those who learned great penmanship – before we lost it after the keyboard was invented. On that page and in the lines of poetry I can step back in time and meet my ancestors and get a whiff of the world as it was – better times in many ways.

Here are a few lines from a poem she loved entitled “Prelude to the Vision of Sir Launfal” by James Russell Lowell. I read it aloud to my wife Janet and we were for a moment whisked away. Notice especially stanzas 9 and 10. What is free when everything else has a cost?

Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us;
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
The priest hath his fee who comes and shrives us,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
At the devil’s booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking
‘Tis heaven alone that is given away
‘Tis only God may be had for the asking;
No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.

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Grandson Josh Plays One of his New Piano Compositions

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My father died six years ago today. I am who I am today because he was the most excellent of fathers. He not only taught me to be a godly man, but helped me understand God as a loving and forgiving Father. I wrote this as a tribute to him then and thought it appropriate […]

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