I arrived home with an excitement as you were going to sing in your first stage event. You were 6 years old, gorgeous with a most engaging voice. The beauty of your voice clear to all. However it was also intoxicating with the perfume of you naivette. At 6 years old, your blonde hair and big brown eyes, matched with this humble beauty, made you the affection of many an adult and the interest of many a little boy.
Your little eyes were awash with tears as I walked through the door. M heard me arrive home and immediately came over. After the greeting kiss the story came out. You did not want to sing that evening. The school concert in which you were to headline, was a moment too big for you. In your young childlike description, you spoke with such tenderness of the rumblings in your tummy as fear began to grip your young soul.
"I can't Dad" you said. "My tummy is all funny and my hands are all sweaty. Please call my teacher and tell her I can't do this". Both Mom and daughter looked at me with eager eyes. I'm sure they 'knew' I would understand such trauma and would immediately agree that this moment was far too traumatic for a 6 year old.
All Dads know those moments when a cry to heaven is load, desperate and urgent. I heard my mouth say: "Baby, this is not about tonight. This is about your life. If Dad says 'Sure. that is not a problem. I can see this is too tough for you. I will call the teacher and pull you from the production'. However that will not empower you for life. It would mean that every time life's challenge traumatizes you I would have taught you to run. When life gets to tough - run. When things come your way that you don't like - run. No my baby. This is not about a song on a stage but a decision that will fashion all others for the rest of your life. Tonight you will sing. That is Dad's gift to you."
She sang beautifully. In her little outfit with long blonde hair neatly curled - you held your little head high. A few fear tears did slip down your cheeks. But you sang. You sang beautifully.
In August I watched you lead worship in Perth. Now a grown woman, mum of two and an extraordinary pastor's wife. I still see that little face, with that beautiful voice and that gentle tear but now I know why. You have never run from potential trauma or challenge. I guess it started on a stage 18 years ago. I am so proud of you.