We were visiting Amy's family in Texas. The girls had a sleepover at Amy's sister's place, leaving the men folk to fend for ourselves. We hunted down and killed our own dinner (we ordered a pizza). Then we sat around the campfire (the TV) and told stories of past hunts and tribal victories (we watched a movie). Then we all lay down and went to sleep in our various beds.
Cole slept in one room with his cousin Matthew, while I slept in another room by myself. At about 6 a.m., something woke me from my slumber. It was a scream.
"Daddy!" Cole cried for me in the hallway.
For some reason, he'd woken up. Not recognizing his surroundings, he'd gotten out of bed and come looking for me. Turned around in a house that he wasn't familiar with, he called out for help. "Daddy! Daddy!"
From the sound of his voice, I could tell he was upset. In fact, he was near the point of panic. I got up and opened my bedroom door. Seeing me, he ran toward me. I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him close. I felt the warmth of his tears on my shoulder. He'd been crying, scared of not knowing where he was. But when I gathered him into my arms, all of that faded away. His tears stopped, his cries quieted.
Yet I felt something else, too. As I held him, I felt Cole relax. With his little head pressed into my neck, Cole's body went slack as he allowed himself to be held and comforted by his father.
I picked him up and carried him back to my bed. There I laid him on the mattress beside me. I pulled the covers over him and whispered words of comfort to him until I heard the rhythmic breathing that signaled his return to sleep.
While I lay there holding my son, I thought about how this world we live in is a lot like a big, dark, unfamiliar house. It's a place that is often scary, a place that is full of uncertainty and fear.
All we have to do is cry out for our heavenly father. He will respond. He will come to us. And when he does, he'll gather us into his arms and give us the comfort we need.
Psalm 34:4 says, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." Your heavenly father will deliver you from all your fears too, if you will seek him.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.