Author Karen O'Connor understands the power of legacy—of not only passing on great biblical truths, but also the dreams and lessons of life.
In "Winter Dream," Karen wrote:
The afternoon of my tenth birthday my father came home early from work. “Surprise,” he said as he stood outside my classroom door when the school bell rang. “We’re going ice skating—just you and me—to celebrate your birthday. It’s about time you and I used these beautiful skates Mom gave us for Christmas.”
My heart pounded! Just the thought of having my father all to myself for half a day was more than I could take in. And to think we would go ice skating together! I had dreamed of such a day for as long as I could remember. My mother knew about it. That’s why she bought us matching skates.
I waved good-bye to my friends and piled into our old tan car. Off we went to the nearby pond, now frozen hard after a week of sub-freezing temperatures. I wrapped a wool scarf around my neck, pulled my stocking cap over my long brown hair, and donned my mittens. Then hand-in-hand, Dad and I skated across the pond all afternoon. Whenever I hit a bump or felt scared, he was there, stretching out his hand to hold me up and to guide me through the maze of skaters whizzing by.
Over the years I’ve often thought about that day and how my father brought my dream to life!
I skated many times after that but none meant as much to me as that special day alone with Dad. Then came the time when, Sarah, one of my granddaughters, invited me to her 10th birthday party. The afternoon would include lunch at a favorite restaurant and unexpectedly—ice skating at a local rink.
I said, ‘yes,’ to lunch, but ‘no’ to skating! “I haven’t skated in nearly forty years,” I told Sarah.
For the rest of the week, however, I wrestled with my decision. I knew how much it would mean to her to have me on the ice, not on the sidelines! I decided to surprise her—just as my father had surprised me so long ago.
“Oh Lord,” I prayed, “help me recreate the dream. I want to pass on to Sarah the confidence, the fun, the closeness that my dad gave me.”
When it was time to skate, I stepped out on the ice, my heart pounding and my legs wobbly. I took a deep breath, then reached for Sarah’s hand. Off we went, and before I knew it I was skating, really skating. My earthly father was no longer there to hold me up, but I was standing tall nonetheless, because I had my heavenly father right there with Sarah and me.
Fear vanished as the truth of God’s promise in Isaiah skipped across my heart. “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’” (Is. 41:13 NRSV).
I smiled in relief. If the Lord would uphold and honor my simple dreams—ice skating with my father and years later, with my granddaughter—surely he would be there, as well, for the big dreams and major challenges ahead. I knew then I had nothing to fear.
What dreams are you passing on to the next generation?
Karen O’Connor is an award-winning author and popular Christian speaker. She lives in Watsonville, California, with her husband, Charles Flowers. This story is based on a selection from her book, Squeeze the Moment (WaterBrook Press, 1999), pp. 54-56. Visit her on the web at karenoconnor.com.
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