“Watch me, Pa!,” is the frequent cry of my four-year old grandson, Ari. Occasionally, this makes sense because he really is doing something new or dangerous, but often he really isn’t doing much at all. And sometimes I am pretty sure he is asking me to watch before he even knows what he is going to do.
Teckla and I have done a lot of watching over the years: piano recitals, soccer games, track meets, wrestling tournaments, football games, concerts. Our four boys kept us busy watching. Whatever failures we may have had as parents, we watched.
I might be guilty of pointing out the obvious here. We all know kids try to make their parents proud. But I think, the cry to be seen comes from something rooted more deeply in our humanity. To be watched is not to be alone. We long to live a life that is seen.
When both parents have died, an odd loneliness comes. While going through some dark and difficult times this last year, I have felt their absence keenly. I have no one older than I who is watching, no one with the investment of love that Mom and Dad had. My tears and laughter are my own. Even though I have brothers and sisters who faithfully pray for us and Teckla is a wonderful source of strength, faith, and love, I miss having a parent watching me. My mom often thanked God for His “watch-care” over us. I don’t know if that is a word, or just one she coined, but I miss her and my father’s watchcare over me.
In this loss and sorrow, I have been helped by Paul and David, both of whom lived their lives before the eyes of God. A few times, I suspect, David wished God wasn’t watching. Even when David cried out, “Where are you, Lord?” he ends up putting all his trust in God. David lived and prayed like someone seen by God. Even when slandered and rejected by believers, Paul stood boldly as someone seen and judged by God. He knew nothing escaped His Father’s notice.
I have answered the call to watch. I am still praying daily over all my sons and their families. Watching my grandchildren grow is a joy.
And I, of course, am not alone. God is with me. His watchcare surrounds me. No matter the content of my prayers, the cry of my heart to God is always, “Watch me, Pa!” And He does.