There’s a part of our beach frontage called Perfume Point, so-called because in the city’s earlier days it was the sewerage output—but we won’t go too far up this track! There’s a parking lot there with a wonderful view of the shipping. I often go there in the late afternoon, especially if there is a ship setting sail for some distant harbour. The tugs and harbour pilots make it look terribly busy and some of the ships are huge.
Recently I was there looking out into the distance when something, or rather someone, appeared much closer. From the car, only the heads of people on the beach can be seen and I could see the head and shoulders of a striking figure moving down the strand. He must have been tall yet by the pulling on his side I suspected that there was a very small person walking with him. Gradually the sea gives way to the point and then I could see them both. There was a young man and his child pacing out to the point’s end. The child was practically running to keep up but there was no complaint. I’m walking with my dad and I’m proud, you could all but hear him say.
When they came to rocky bits, the father just let his feet search for the best toehold while the young one jumped from one toehold to another. It looked kind of funny, the big person’s pacing between the boulders, but the little one trying not to seem fussed leaping from rock to rock.
It’s not very long before the small rocks give way to vast concrete squares. They were mostly about 20 centimetres apart so the father just took them in his stride but the little person had to make a great leap.
Then a funny thing happened – as the gaps grew larger, the young person couldn’t jump them so the arms of the father just picked him up and swung him across. There was no asking or begging or standing and thinking about it. Just a handy swing and they were there, the two of them, ready to take the next steps.
Just when I thought they had finished their clambering the father decided they would go down to the water right out on the point. Carefully the father let the young one down. He couldn’t see where he was going to land but it didn’t matter. The young one was with his dad, and no harm could come to him.
I went to Perfume Point for a moment’s respite and while I was there I saw acted out, my whole life’s journey with God as a father.