It was the subtlest of movements, the slightest shift of her eyes to the floor. A downcast movement of her heart. No one saw it, no one knew it was happening.
No one but me, and her, and God.
She watched her new friend hug her dad, and she listened as her friend let out a sweet laugh. A laugh that said she was comfortable in his arms. A laugh that a million other girls had laughed with a million other dads.
I watched the sweet embrace of a young girl and her father. The gentle banter of two hearts that loved one another, that cared deeply for one another.
And as that precious moment unfolded like it has for countless other girls and their dads, my gaze was drawn to the other girl. And my heart broke a little.
I wanted to believe it was just my imagination, that I hadn’t really seen her heart take another blow. It wasn’t a punch to the gut like she usually encountered. This was more like a little jab. A little poke to remind her that she didn’t have what so many other girls had. What so many other girls took for granted.
And what she so desperately wanted.
I knew she wanted the love of her father because she had all but told me so. We had spent many days together, walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Our conversations were light-hearted for the most part. Occasionally they went deeper. Especially when she would get me to tell a story and then say with all earnestness – “Tell me everything!”
And so I would tell her another story and I would do my best to tell her everything. It isn’t often that I meet people who really want to hear everything in a story. And so we came to know one another through stories. Some funny, some sad, some enlightening.
That is how I came to know the girl I nicknamed “Cool Girl”. Outwardly she was obviously a girl of good taste and a poise that defied her age. Inwardly is where the real cool came through. Her coolness was marked by a self-confidence and a sureness that is rarely seen in people twice her age. And of course anyone that wanted to hear me tell a story was cool in my book.
That is how I recognized the sails of her spirit having the wind taken out of them as we stood waiting for our flight. Because I had come to care for her.
And is so often the case with me, I began to question God. Are you trying to tell me something? Am I to say something? If I feel a twinge of pain in my heart, what must her heart feel like? What would you have me to do?
And the answer was twofold. First, pray. Second, write. As I prayed, the question came – could she have the courage to hope for something that eluded her, her entire young life? Did she know what I had come to know? For there was a time in my young life when I hoped for a love that had escaped me. To hear my father say the words, “I love you son”. Words that eluded me my entire life. Words that wouldn’t come from his lips in simple response to my telling him that I loved him. Words that didn’t come on his death-bed. Words that I will never hear.
Until I heard them. I remember the day well. A day when I heard my Father in heaven say that he loved me, that I was a delight to him. Can you imagine? A delight? Those were his exact words. I was a delight to the maker of heaven and earth. And that changed everything.
And so I will write in the hopes that she will read these words or perhaps another girl who needs to hear these words will read them. That they will know they have a father that delights in them. A father that has dreams for them.
And I will pray that she won’t talk herself out of believing that His love for her is real. And enough. And healing.