The warm sun shone brightly, as the sounds of songbirds harmonizing with crickets and grasshoppers drifted on the spring breeze. Spring was in the air, and love was just around the corner.
Dave Nichols and his six year old daughter, Julie, walked through a country meadow during one of their weekly visits. He enjoyed spending time with her, especially now, because since the divorce he was only able to see her for a few days every two weeks.
Julie skipped along quietly humming, just a few feet in front of her father. The sun reflected off her dark hair, seemingly to make it glow. Her sudden childishly happy giggles filled the air as she chased a fluttering butterfly for a short distance. Rainbows of colourful flowers dotted the land, and bees buzzed from bloom to bloom, collecting pollen.
After several moments, Julie stopped to pick a daisy. Glancing at her father, her dark brown eyes emanating with such love for him, she slowly pulled off a single white petal, and tossed both it and the flower to the ground. “He loves me!” She sang. Running back to her father, she grabbed his hand and pulled him down the narrow, dusty path.
After a short distance, she spotted another patch of daisies swaying in the gentle wind, dancing to a silent tune not heard by human ears. Picking several, she placed the white blooms in her father’s hand. Choosing the biggest one, she repeated her earlier process of plucking a single petal. “He loves me!” She tossed the flower away, and again repeated the same procedure with the rest.
“Julie Baby.” Her father said kneeling to her level. “Why do you keep pulling a single petal from these flowers?” He was curious of why she was doing this.
“Because.” She simply stated. “Mommy said that when she was little she used to play a game where she would do this and say, ‘he loves me,’ and then pull another one out and say ‘he loves me not’, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Dave knew the game she was referring to. It was one he remembered his sisters playing, as they attempted to figure out if the boy of their dreams really did love them or not. “But you’re not doing that. You just stop after the first ‘he loves me’. Why?”
“We sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in Sunday School.” She said, seeming to change the topic as she often did when she didn’t want to answer a question.
It dawned on him that was what she had been humming earlier! Dave immediately recognized the song, and though it had been a long time since he had been to Sunday school and church himself, he remembered singing it as a child. The tune now echoed in his head.
“Honey, I don’t get it. What does that have to do with the flowers?” He sat down on the warm earth and pulled Julie onto his lap. His daughter could be so confusing to him, like she was right now.
“Daddy,” She paused and looked at him as though he should know the answer. “Jesus loves me. I don’t need to pull off any more petals. You love me too, right? Mommy told me you do. She said that just because you’re not married to her anymore, doesn’t mean that you don’t love me.”
His heart fluttered and he chocked back his emotions. His little girl had been worried that he might have stopped loving her. His heart was nearly breaking at the thought of his little Julie being hurt from this divorce. Dave wrapped his arms around his daughter and squeezed tightly. “Mommy is right. I do love you, always and forever. No matter what, nothing will ever make me stop loving you, Baby. Don’t ever forget that.”
“Just like Jesus, right Daddy? He will never stop loving me either.” She paused. “Daddy?”
“Yes, Baby?” Dave continued holding his daughter, not wanting to let go; not realizing just how much he, too, had been hurting as a result of the events of the past several months.
“Jesus loves you, too.”
“Yes, He does.” How could he have forgotten that? Somewhere along the line, Dave had forgotten about Jesus’ love. Smiling, he kissed the tip of Julie’s nose and allowed his tears to flow for the first time in a long time. He reached and picked one of the daisies. Smiling at his daughter, he copied her earlier motions, saying, “He loves me!”
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