My dad’s office was off limits. But one day he ushered me in to have a talk. I climbed into the chair directly opposite his commanding high-backed seat, where he sat upright, poised, and businesslike. He looked at me intently across what seemed like miles of his imposing desk.
My 4-1/2-year-old legs and feet flopped about on the chair. I was a little dirty from playing in the garden and not comfortable with this formal feel. I had never seen this serious, reserved view of my dad – a big contrast to the dad who would pick me up and waltz me around the kitchen to a few bars of Bing Crosby on the radio as I giggled with delight.
I was wondering what I had done wrong. He caught my gaze, knew I was desperate to get out of there, and said with utter sincerity, “God is your Father; I am your dad.”
“I know.” My legs were still flopping.
“You know?” He seemed so relieved. I asked if I could go play, and that was that.
My Christian Science Sunday School teacher had talked about God as our Father-Mother, who created us spiritually. And even at that young age I had found that I could call on God for help at any time, even at night, because He is always with us. God had comforted me when I felt afraid and healed me when I needed healing.
A few months after that moment with my dad, my mom moved out. A sister and I went to live with her, while my older siblings stayed with my dad.
My growing understanding of God as Father helped me during this tough time. I felt His divine presence with me. I felt safe, courageous, loved, confident, capable. I long for every child to feel that comfort as I did. According to Christ Jesus, they have a right to. He said, “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).
Commenting on Jesus’ statement, Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor’s founder, wrote, “He recognized Spirit, God, as the only creator, and therefore as the Father of all” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 31).
As I grew up, my childhood trust in my dad’s wisdom grew into a clearer spiritual understanding of God, Spirit, as the Father who helped me through challenges I encountered as an adult. Over the years, my appreciation for my dad grew, too. His love and support were constant. I knew that he, too, saw my true, spiritual identity as a perfectly wonderful daughter of God. No matter what my sister and I were going through, he guided and prayed for us.
Through prayer we can all gain a clearer view of God as Love itself, as ever present good, guiding us and answering our prayers. Our Father blesses us at every moment.
So today and every day I’m thanking God not just for my dad, but for being Father to all of us.