It was about 1:00am. I was sitting on one of those plastic-leather couches in the emergency room. The ER was busy that evening. From what I gathered from the staff, I guess Father’s Day is usually an eventful day for this ER. The room we were in was a waiting room in the ER itself, not the waiting room outside. It was small, this 2 seater couch I was on and a couple of other matching chairs. You know the couches I am talking about, the ones where the comfortableness wears off after an hour or so.
My daughter Anna was sitting in a chair across from me fidgeting. Understandable. We had been there since about 7pm. I was there for her. She was had made it clear that she was not feeling safe, that she was feeling like she would not be able to control the thoughts to hurt herself if we did not go to the hospital. We had been seen by that point by the medical and psych staff, and all of us came to the conclusion that she needed that help. We were just waiting for all the arrangements to be made at this point and had been told that we would most likely be waiting there till morning.
After I took the last sip of my iced-coffee Anna looked up at me with sad, anxious, blue eyes and said, “I’m sorry I ruined your Father’s Day daddy.” Now we had had company over that afternoon, and that ended up having to be cut short to focus on Anna. She was sure that I was not happy about that or having to spend all night with her at the hospital when I should have been enjoying Father’s Day, even though I had not said so.
I straightened up, shook my head, smiled at her and said, “No honey. You have not wrecked my Father’s Day. You have given me another opportunity to show you that I love being your dad, and what better day for that to be than Father’s Day? It is not possible for you to wreck it. I suppose I could if I had a bad attitude about it, but I don’t. I love you because God made you and gave you to me. Being here does not change those things. You can’t change those things. The way I look at it, God must really love me a lot to entrust me with being the dad to someone as special and awesome as you. I am not mad, or angry, or upset. I am glad to be here with you when you need me. You did not wreck my Father’s Day, by asking for help you made my Father’s Day. Do you believe me?”
She nodded her head. Her eyes were not so anxious any more.
“I’m serious, now. I mean what I said. You did not wreck my Father’s Day. Do you believe me?”
She smiled back, “Yes daddy, I believe you.”
“Good,” I said. “Wanna see if we can watch some Flash on my tablet?” She nodded and came over and sat with me.
Now, what’s the point? The point is that I have been learning how important it is to reinforce the fact that the love I have for her and my other two daughters is not based on what they do or how they perform, but is based solely in who they are. That is the kind of love that God wants us to have for everyone. But that is not often how people understand love is it? We seem hardwired for believing that we are loved, worthy of love, and able to love based on what other people think of us and our own performance. Let me tell you, if God’s love for me was based on my performance or on what other people think of me He would have kicked me to the curb a long time ago. My heavenly Father loves me because He wants to, because He made me, not because I earned it. We need to mirror that love to one another. We need to love people because God made them, because we see His fingerprints on their hearts and souls. They more we love them like that, the more we understand the love God has for us in Jesus. The more we understand that, the more we love God. The more we love God, the more we love other people.
Now that is not to say I am not having a hard time with this. It was painful to be there. It is painful to see your kid hurt so much in her soul. It hurts to not be enough. It hurts to know that for the time being she needs to be away to get the help she needs. It is very hard, and my heart is very heavy. But she did make my day by trusting her mom and I enough to let us know she needed help. And I was glad for the opportunity to show her that loving her by walking with her that night was just what I wanted to do for her on Father’s Day.