Reuben and Achim (A-keem) were walking home from a late morning trek out to fish at the small lake about 3 miles from the family farm. Reuben took his chosen path to swing wide around the Zac Farm to come home at the far end of their own homestead. There was a giant tree there, Achim’s favorite. The tree was said to be two hundred years old, though none could know for sure without cutting it down to count the rings. Reuben’s father, Abe, had carefully constructed a swing on the tree. Unlike most, who usually attached a rope to a sturdy high up limb, Abe had opted to do an addition to the tree. It was a grafted in limb of his making, attached to the main trunk of the tree; a brilliant set of pulleys, chains and ropes gave the swing it’s life. Abe had said to attach the usual way would wound the tree and weaken the whole thing, eventually the limb would fall off threatening to harm the precious child (or adult) who sat upon it to share it’s joy. Achim knew the story well as he had asked for Reuben and his wife to tell him nearly every year. It had become the father and sons special spot recently. Reuben was in the special forces of the military. Whenever he was about to be “shipped out” He found a way to make their way to the tree to tell Achim. He would part with his son, having given him a gift and a nice long swing session the day before he shipped out. Achim was now ten years old, hardly a child anymore. Yet still small enough at heart to carry the tenderness of years before manhood would begin to shape him. Achim was prattling on about the huge fish his friend Danny had caught just before they left the lake. Reuben smiled, ahhh…the freedom of youth with excitement filling all things. Well, most things.
Finally the big tree came into view and Achim exclaimed his joy, dropping his pole and running straight for the swing.
Reuben stooped to pick up the pole.
“I’ll set up the blanket and food”, he hollered.
Achim was fast and already swinging with gusto!
So many memories here, Lord God, keep them ingrained upon my heart in the days ahead.
The meal laid out, Reuben enjoyed watching Achim and began to nibble on a carrot. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was till then.
“Come on, Keem, I’m starved, let’s eat!” He called.
Achim flew off the swing in midair, making a perfect ten landing at a run for the food. He came to a stop and plopped down. Reuben pulled out the chicken and salad, chips and veggies and they began to feast. The two o’clock sun was veiled by the giant protector they sat beneath. The day was perfect, blue skies and whispy clouds with a slight breeze to cool them down in the 85° Idaho sun. Father and son exchanged hungry looks and giggles as they consumed their lunch.
“Did ye have a good time, Keem?” He asked. Prepping the soil for words to sew the next segment of time.
Achim shook his head vigorously, bright eyes gleaming…”Mmmhuummm!” He munched.
They continued to eat until they were satisfied. Reuben allowed the silence to water the soil.
“You’re going away again, huh, Papa.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Indeed, I am, Achim. How did you know?” Reuben pretended to be curious.
The boy shrugged his shoulders. “Just knew…” came the reply.
Again quiet breezes filled the air between them for a time.
“So what will you be giving me this time?” Again it was more like a statement than a question. No bitterness colored his tone. Reuben thanked the Lord.
Reuben reached into his pocket and pulled out a small seed. Achim arched his posture toward his hands with curious aplomb. Reuben opened his hands and pulled the boys hand to him, placing the seed in his sons hand.
“It’s a tree.” He said, with a smile, a knowing thought, synchronized with his sons head, as it cocked to one side, unconvinced.
“It’s a seed Papa, not a tree!” Achim said with youthful authority.
“Nope, a whole tree is inside that seed, it just needs to grow, son.” He added, with renewed enthusiasm.
It was comically predictable when Achim’s head zoomed into the seed in his hand with a look of epiphany.
“Wow, I never thought of it like that! A…whole…tree…well, of course it’s all got to be there in some way, huh?” Achim was an endless learner and open to big thoughts. He always had been.
“But – well it can’t all be in there, it needs the stuff from the ground and water and sunshine and stuff to be a tree, though.” Ten year old deduction flowed out of his mouth.
“Let’s think about that a minute. Look around, there’s one tree here. All around for quite some distance, no other trees. But soil and water and sunshine abound. So why do you suppose there are not more trees?” Reuben primed the pump.
Achim scanned the scene around them, looked up and down and back at the tree. Then his gaze fell in new wonder to the seed in his hand.
“Thank you, Papa, for my tree!” Achim wrapped his arms around Reuben’s neck. “You always give the neatest gifts! When can we plant it? Can we plant it out here next to Grandpa Abe’s tree?” The boy released his snuggle and looked into Reuben’s eyes.
Ach, Adonai, what have I done to deserve this son?
“Well…I don’t see why not.” He smiled.
“When?! When?!” Achim’s excitement was better than the meal they had just consumed. And Laura knew how to satisfy not just the hunger, but the palette!
“Let’s plan it for the weekend after I return, eh? Sound good?”
Achim’s excitement faded and turned introspective. Silence hung and swung in the air like the swing on the tree. Reuben let it gestate.
“What if you don’t come home this time?” ‘The question’ wrapped a breeze around them both, cold and foreboding.
Reuben pulled his Keem into his lap and wrapped his arms around him. Placing his hands over the seed-filled hand of his son.
“We have talked about that possibility my dear boy, it’s true, Adonai could make that decision. But He tells us not to anticipate death, but hold on to life, dear Keem. So that we must do!”
Achim’s small head rubbed in the affirmative against his chest. Reuben sensed the tears before he saw one drop down into the now open palm with the seed. His heart broke. The tears of a child are a precious gift, but hard to want to receive.
“Do you know what your name means, Achim Kaleb Seth?” Reuben hardly realized the words were in his mind before his heart held them out to his voice. He smiled, and looked up to acknowledge His Makers mind.
“Yes.” sniff. “It’s God made me, or something like that.”
“Well…close. Achim means; constructed by God. Kaleb means; to be faithful. And our shared last name means, Appointed One. So, in truth, your whole name means; constructed by God to be faithful to the Appointed One. Do you know what that means?” Reuben again primed the pump.
“Yes, it means God made me to be faithful to Him.” Came the half hearted answer.
Reuben turned his son around and sat him in front of him to see face to face.
“Not just faithful to God, but His Appointed One, Yeshua the Mashiach, God’s Son! You must understand fully, my son, that your name is your character. We chose it very carefully, eight days after you were born, we prayed to Adonai for the direction of the nature He shaped in you while you lived in your Mama’s tummy. You see we didn’t know all He was doing as you grew, like that seed, inside the womb of His construction. We prayed, asked Him for a healthy child, for a child with much heart, but we didn’t know until that eighth day what He wanted us to say to you everyday. ‘Constructed by Yahweh, let’s go fishing; constructed by Yahweh, have you learned your aleph-bet, I love you, constructed by Yahweh, faithful one to the Son of God, my son!’ These words continue to shape you everyday in agreement with Yahweh from the Beginning. It’s no small thing your name, Achim Kaleb Seth, you are constructed by the very words and breath of God. He will care for you with the same detail in every moment of your life. So don’t fear what may come. Only keep your eyes on this One, the One who made you, and all will be well. Do you believe this, my son?” Reuben held his face very close to Achim’s and waited.
Light was dawning in the mind of Achim as he let his father’s gaze penetrate his heart.
“Yes, Papa, I will remember what you say, and I will try to only think of you alive and just gone for a trip.” Came the world of enormous answer from the lips of this babe!
Reuben’s eyes swelled with tears. Again he embraced his child.
“We’ll all think the same with you, Achim, well constructed by God! As we all think of our Salvation, remember what He said and think only of Him as on a trip, coming soon, to take us all home! Yes, of course yes!” He laughed. Achim joined him.
“What does your name mean, Papa?” Achim pulled out of the embrace and curiosity regained it’s status in his spirit.
“Reuben means; see my son. Yashir means; God will answer and our shared last name means; Appointed One. So my name means; See! My son! God will answer His Appointed One! It’s an awesome name, it protects me, guides me, holds me, and shields me!” It had been a while since Reuben had pondered his name. He smiled as big as the tree next to them in renewed wonder. He would keep it in mind as he was away.
“It’s an awesome name Papa! I like it!. He will protect you while you are away! Mama says that Adonai hears His Sons prayers all the time and Yeshua always prays for our protection! She showed me the Scripture! I am happy grandpa Abe named you like you named me!” Achim smiled in wonder.
“Indeed! And listen! Our names together show us the way. See! My Son! God will answer! And constructed by God will be faithful to the Appointed Ones prayer! What joy we have to be named by Him and put together, eh?”
“Yes, Papa! I love that! I will write it down and put it by my bed so I can read it every time I see it and put my prayers with God’s! Thank you for my seed-gift, and fishing today. I love you, Papa!”
The squeeze that embraced Reuben with those words joined it’s voice with praise to the tree that they sat under and the tree in the palm of Achim’s hand. They sat there for a while together, watching the sun shift it’s path around the veil of the tree until they felt the veil fall away and the sun full upon their faces.
🔯 May the grace and peace of Yeshua the Messiah be with you in full measure 🔯