Standing Up

My dad had the sweetest habit. He was such a gentleman that, even at 86 years of age, he would stand when a woman entered the room. It was positively charming. I remember vividly when a friend of mine dropped by to see me and popped into my folk's apartment to say hello to them. Even though he was sick with cancer, my dad stood up to greet her and remained standing, struggling a bit, until she left.

Not just this once. He would do this every single time. It was absolutely adorable. Melted my heart every time.

Now my dad wasn't a "blue blood". He never went to "finishing school" to learn etiquette. I suppose most all his generation knew how to treat people from watching their elders. And those lessons stuck. He opened doors for women, spoke respectfully to others, and, yes, stood when he was introduced to someone, especially a female.

I was touched by that every single time. What a show of kindness. Of respect. Of affirmation.
It makes the other person feel so valued. What a gift!

One of my most cherished memories is that of coming home, after having left home, if you know what I mean. College days. Marriage. Family of my own. Coming home - where Mama and Daddy lived before they moved in with me. I'd pull into our long driveway and hit the horn a couple of times. I could see my Daddy in his chair by the window, and by the time I'd parked the car, he would have gotten up and come out to my car with his arms open wide. Welcome home. Welcome home. What a feeling of love, expressed in my Dad's simple gesture of getting out of his chair to greet me. To embrace me. To welcome me home. Every time.

I thought about my Daddy the other day at church. We were reading in Acts about Stephen, who was martyred for his faith. As he was dying, he gazed intently into Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus, standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55).

Now, we know from Ephesians 1:19-21 that Jesus's usual position is sitting down -

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come

But when Stephen was dying, when he was coming home, Jesus stood to greet him. What an expression of love and affirmation and joy. Welcome home!

One day, I'm going to pull into Heaven's golden driveway. And I believe my King Jesus will be standing there, arms open wide, to welcome me home. Now, I don't know if Jesus gets out of His seat for every saint's homecoming - maybe it's just for martyrs like Stephen. To think that the King of Kings would rise as I enter is more than I can imagine. But sitting or standing, it won't matter - I will fall on my face before Him and worship. To see Him face to face. To think that the Creator of the Universe will have been longing for me to come home - I cannot imagine. Oh what a glorious day that will be!

My Daddy has beaten me there. I know he will be there to welcome me. Maybe he'll be seated at a window, just watching for me to come. And I just bet he'll get up to greet me. And after I've been with my sweet Savior, there'll be another pair of arms I'll want to fall into. Another voice I'll want to hear saying Welcome home. Welcome HOME.