No signature touched the space, only the tears and thumb of a young lady. An elderly man, sitting across from her, leaned on his knees and looked as if he would die, if she continued. Yet, the beads of sweat and the sporadic widening and narrowing of his eyes also betrayed a strong temptation to grab the pen in his pocket and to dash his signature onto the lady's paper.
"Help me, Lord. I am weak," he silently begged and then audibly said, "I'm sorry, but I can't sign that paper. I just can't."
"You just won't."
"I won't because I can't."
"You won't because you're greedy and selfish."
He leaned back astonished at the woman's severity.
"I can't because I love you."
Laughter burst from her lips followed by, "If you love me, why don't you please me?"
A minute, seeming like hours, of silence passed, after which the man said, "I have wronged you all your life by always pleasing you. Pleasing, I have discovered, is not equal with loving. God does not always please us, but He always loves us and does what is best for us. I want to be a good father to you, dear. And is there a better model than our heavenly father?" he now peered into the eyes of the lady, "Today, with His help, I will begin loving you."
"Oh, stop pretending that you care for me," she waved the paper through the air as if fanning away the supposed hypocrisy, "You'll not co-sign because you love your money more than your daughter."
"I love you, and I would give you every cent I own, if I thought it would be best for you. But I believe it will hurt you more than either of us realize to continue borrowing money for your husband's business."
"But dad, this has been my dream."
"I know it has, but this dream," he paused and looked to the floor, "this dream has ended. You must move on."
The woman shot to her feet, her face trembling with anger, and stared at the man who continued looking to the floor. A few seconds passed while she calmed herself. Then she quietly but clearly said, "If you do not sign, you will never see me again."
He lifted his sad face toward his daughter, and after silently begging God for more strength, said, "I cannot sign."
They stared at each other, the woman in frustration, the father in compassion. The document fell from her hand, drifted toward the man, and landed on the floor. Then she grabbed her coat from the back of her chair, and while walking to the door, said, "You'll never see me again." A loud slamming of the door followed. She was gone.
Father remained seated, staring at the door. A slight, hopeful smile graced his lips, as he said, "I will see you again, when you see how I have loved you this day." His tears mingled amongst hers on the empty space below.
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