ordered

I work late on Saturdays.
After supper I go to Panera and work on my sermon
through the whole bedtime process.
The other week I was out particularly late—
having gone to the office after Panera closed—
to look something up, print something.

I walked into the house surprised to walk up the stairs
and see my older daughter’s light on.
I peeked in the other room—the dark room.
My wife had fallen asleep with our younger daughter.

I walked into the still lit-up room.
She was reading.
“What on earth are you still doing up?
Do you realize it’s after 10 o’clock? You need to be asleep!”
“Daddy, I’m so tired.
But no one came to tell me to stop reading and go to sleep!”

I had to swallow a grin at that one.
“Stop reading, sweetie, and go to sleep!” I ordered.
And she smiled, put her book down.
I pulled her covers up and turned out the light,
gave her a kiss and left … amused and joy-full.

Sometimes, we need to be told what to do—
even when it’s what we want to do.
Sometimes, we’re just waiting to be told.

Part of growing up is learning who to listen to;
part of growing up is learning not to wait;
part of growing up is learning that sometimes commands
are given in love and joy;

and part of growing up is learning that sometimes commands
are received with love and joy.

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