He reached gently into his tuxedo pants pocket. His fingers lightly curled around the cold, solid metal and he sighed.
His sweet little girl was getting married. Images of her in a cute pink furry winter coat came to his mind’s eye. She was only four. Now the slide show of his mind brought the image of her learning to ride her bicycle. Her mother ran besides her holding the bike. As their daughter gathered speed, mom released her. Straight ahead without waver she rode. Squeals of her delight filled the air. It was her 16th birthday and her gift from dad and mom was to sing and record her favorite songs in a real recording studio. As the technician laid down her tracks, dad remembered, he was so proud of her.
“Honey, it is time.” His wife’s voice brought him back to the moment in reality.
“Where are we meeting?” he asked his wife.
“At the top of the stairs where she will enter from, for the ceremony,” she replied.
This meeting was four years in the making. On his daughter’s 17th birthday, dad had invited her out to dinner to celebrate her life and the new stage this milestone in life, was moving her into. She could now begin cultivating a relationship with a young man. Dad and mom spent hours looking for the perfect gift. A silver necklace chain, a heart shaped pendant dangling on it with a diamond in the center. It was just right! Bought separately, attached to the chain was a delicate, filigreed silver key.
Daughter was giggly that night her and dad left for their date. It wasn’t unusual to go out with daddy on a date, every Saturday morning for years; he took one of his five daughters out for breakfast, but this was different.
When dad and daughter arrived at the restaurant they were seated at a table in a quiet, remote corner. They began to chat about things going on in her life. The order was taken, drinks and food delivered, and the conversation continued intermittently between eating. When they were finished eating, dad pushed back his plate to lead in a most important conversation.
He started by sharing with his daughter about the love he and her mother had for her. He affirmed their efforts had been to share God with her, teaching her His will for life. He then said, God tells us to, “Above all else, guard our heart for it is the wellspring of life.” He talked about the importance of guarding her heart, respecting her body, and of saving her sexuality to be a gift she could present to her husband.
Removing the little box that was in his jacket pocket, he handed it to her. Her eyes glistened with anticipation. She opened it and let out a soft sigh. As she lifted it tenderly from the box, dad spoke these words, “All your life I have been your protector. As you enter this time in life when you will began to spend time with young men, I want you to know that I will hold the key to your heart. When you find that man, on the day of your wedding, I will give this key to your husband.” Taking the necklace, dad removed the key and helped his daughter place the heart pendant around her neck.
Dad began the ascent up the stairs. He could hear the animated and joyful voices of his wife, his daughter and her beloved. He entered the room and sat in one of the four chairs arranged in a semi-circle. He reached into his pocket and took out the key. He began to speak. His daughter began to tear as she heard the emotion in her daddy’s voice. Daddy shared with her beloved about how four years prior he had given his daughter a heart necklace with a key attached. A key that he had held in his care until the time when his daughter found the man she would marry. Mom wiped the first of many tears, for that day, from her cheeks. Dad glanced over at mom, reached out and squeezed her hand and continued, “Today I give you this key, the key to the heart of our daughter. Our hopes and prayers are that you will tend to it with leadership, with protection, with care and with love.”
Writer’s Note: Based on a real life story
Proverbs 4:23: Paraphrased from the New International Version
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