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There was a chill in the air as I watched him take a draw from his cigarette. The tip glowed orange-red in the dark of the parking area as he inhaled. A white cloud of smoke and warm breath, illuminated by a nearby streetlight, emerged as he exhaled.

“You don’t know what it’s like to have the !@$?# beat out of you by your old man,” he said in an angry tone. “Day after day my dad would pound on me.”

“No, I don’t know,” I sheepishly replied. I couldn’t possibly know what he went through, but I knew he had the same hole I did, a deep desire for a loving father. I knew he felt the same emptiness, the same longing for a father’s loving touch; a father’s loving words.

“I’m sorry,” was all I could say. I looked at him in the eyes with sincerity. “You know I do care about you.”

He just swore at me and took another puff from the cigarette. “You’re all liars.”

I was speechless. I could not overcome the years of beatings, the years of disappointment he experienced. How could I overcome the massive wall he built to defend himself? How could I get him to understand he always had a loving father right there with him, that God the Father loves him no matter what. He never disappoints.

He swore again at me — told me to leave him alone. I turned to leave, then hesitated and turned around. “I wish you could see I do care about you.”

He swore again at me. “Just leave me alone,” he shouted.

“Okay,” I nodded and walked away. Before going back inside, I turned to look back at him. The orange-red glow of his cigarette was visible in the dark. “Dear God, help him to see you,” I whispered. “Help him to know you”

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. – 1 John 3:1

© 2019 CGThelen

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