on the shoulders of giants

From the Top of the Stairs

From the Top of the Stairs

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A five-year-old girl sits at the top of the stairs, crouched above the landing where the steps turn to ascend the last few feet, listening as if her life depends on the conversation below.

It’s Sunday evening and she and her siblings have just returned home from a weekend spent with their father, in his tiny apartment with no furniture.

She hopes her mom isn’t going to yell at him again. Please, please, please, just be nice for once. More than anything, she wants Daddy to come back home, to read her a bedtime story, tuck her in, kiss her goodnight. Things her mom says she doesn’t have time for anymore. She misses him.

It became a routine, those Sunday evenings, her mom always asking him for money then yelling when it wasn’t enough.

The little girl was too young to understand the enormous strain her mother was under, a single parent struggling to raise six kids on her own with very little, if any, financial help. Her dad probably did what he could but money was tight even before he left.

She remembers the landlord threatening to put them out on the street, her mom pleading for more time. Sometimes their electricity was shut off, occasionally the heat. When she was five, she didn’t know why. She just blamed her mom for driving Daddy away. As she sat there at the top of the stairs, her pudgy hands clasped tightly over her ears against the yelling, she heard the same things over and over and eventually, the door would slam and she’d race down the steps.

“I can’t believe you yelled at him again!” she screamed, bursting into tears. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye.” Then she’d run upstairs to her room and cry herself to sleep, no bedtime story, no one to tuck her in, not even a kiss goodnight.

The little girl started kindergarten that year and in the afternoons she went next door to be looked after by a kind elderly lady, Mrs. Wyatt, who treated her daycare kids to a Bible study. Eager to learn to read, the youngster memorized Bible verses and learned very quickly, “Even when you think no one loves you, Jesus does.” It’s a lesson that has lasted her a lifetime.

The child’s hopes—that Daddy would come back to them—became prayers. Her whole life she prayed her parents would get back together, until a few years ago when her mother, bedridden with terminal cancer, moved into her father’s home, at his request, so that he could take care of her. She died there in his house.

It wasn’t exactly the answer to her prayers the now grown woman had hoped for. But it was an answer.

God bless you, Mrs. Wyatt, for being that little girl’s rock, for teaching her early on that even when she thought no one loved her, Jesus did. And for teaching her the power of prayer. Thank you for seeing the potential in her and for sharing His light that now shines on through her unique gifts. You touched her life.

Have you touched anyone lately?