if i could sit by your bedside tonight, i’d bring a cup of white hot chocolate from your favorite coffee shop.  or maybe caramel apple cider, the kind that’s so sweet, you’re pretty certain you’re developing a cavity as you sip it.  we’d sit, in our pajamas, and i’d make you scoot over to share the other half of your full-size bed, and slowly find a way to steal the remote control out of your hands and turn off the last episode of gilmore girls, the one that makes you cry every time you watch it. 

i’d sit, and we’d talk, in the silence.  and i would be okay with silence.  i might try to make a funny joke, and you’d laugh at a pun or two, but eventually the real truth would come out, and you’d look up at the ceiling and blink away tears until they cascade like a waterfall and you can’t breathe and you can’t stop and you’re gasping for air. 

and i would let you cry.  every tear.  i wouldn’t tell you to stop, or shame you.  maybe i’d put my hand on your back, but maybe not–because you’re weird about physical touch sometimes.  and beneath the sobs i’d make out the great sadness i hear in the story, the sadness i already know, because i’ve been watching from afar.  and living life with you.  and i know.  and i would tell you that i know–not in the condescending kind of way, where someone tries to explain away your hurt or give you a band-aid too small to cover a gaping wound.  

i’d tell you in the way that i know you hurt.  i understand.  and i’m sorry.  i’m sorry that you hurt, and that you are sad, and very very afraid, and feel very lost and confused most days.  i’d grab your hand, and hold it tight, and hold you.  

and eventually maybe i would make a joke to break the sadness, or maybe we’d sit in the silence for a while, like a tea bag stewing in a hot cup of water, the melancholy permeating the room.  

and then, i would tell you this.  i would tell you that i love you.  that my love for you will never end.  that it knows no bounds, and no reason, and no barriers.  that even when you feel selfish and insecure and unsure, i am there.  that i have been where you are standing.  and that i am where you are standing.  that even though you feel so unloved, you cannot even imagine the love i have for you–even when you’re laying in bed, in your pajamas, crying and looking like an absolute hot mess.  in your profound, too-deep-for-words, hurts-so-bad sadness, i am there.  i love you, and don’t wish to see you in pain.  but.

because there’s a but.  even as i’m standing in your shoes, feeling your sadness…i’m also looking at what’s ahead.  i would tell you that there’s goodness ahead.  that something beautiful will come out of this.  that you can trust me.  that i won’t forsake you, even when it feels like i’m not there.  that i haven’t abandoned you.  that i promise, more than anything, to give you myself.  and that, my dear daughter, is enough.  that will always be enough.  i know that these words are hard to hear right now, so i’ll whisper them, and maybe you won’t even pay attention to them now, but one day, when the sun peeks through the clouds…you’ll remember the last part of our conversation.  you’ll begin to feel something warm inside you again.  you’ll start to live with hope. 

and so i’ll help you wipe the tears from your eyes, and i’ll calm you down, and rock you to sleep, and i’ll sing a sweet song over you, and promise that one day, the sun will shine again, all the more clear.  that one day, this will all make sense.  that for now, i’ll give you the strength to trust.  and that i’m using this–even using brokenness and despair–to teach you what it means to be my child.  

ye who long pain and sorrow bear–praise God and on him cast your care.  

alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. 

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