Why are you afraid Lily? Lomé Louw

Some afternoons, when Lily’s dad comes home from work early, the two of them go to the park to play. Daddy always says that this is their special together time. Normally Bruno, Lily’s little dog, accompanies them. But today Dad asks for Bruno to stay at home. Lily wants to be obedient, but cannot help to enquire: “But why Daddy?”

“I want you to climb the jungle gym and to swing, but when Bruno is there, you only play with your dog. Remember that one of the reasons why I accompany you to the park is that I can be with you when you feel scared of climbing the huge jungle gym.”

Dad and Lily give Mom a hug and wave at Bruno who sits behind the gate. She feels sorry for him because she knows how he enjoys chasing after balls. Actually she feels just like Bruno, but does not want him to know. She does not really like climbing that jungle gym or swinging in the park. Her friends at school does not seem to understand that she likes it when both her feet stand firmly on the ground. The moment her feet lose contact with the earth, she starts to feel unsafe and uncertain.  She knows that her Dad is strong and big and that he will always help her, but won’t he laugh at her anxiety, just as her friends at school do?

But then, Dad is not like her friends. He makes her climb two steps up the ladder of the jungle gym, and then positions himself behind her. Step by step he climbs with her until they reach the top of the jungle gym! At reaching the top, Lily sits down on the platform. Her head feels dizzy when she looks down. Wow… this is very high. Dad perches himself next to her and gives her a warm hug. “Wonderful my Lily Love, you did it!”

She still wants to tell her Dad that she is feeling dizzy and that she does not know how she would be able to climb down when Dad’s phone rings. His conversation is short, he gives staccato answers. Lily can sense that something is the matter.

“Lily, Daddy is going to climb down quickly. We need to hurry home because Mom needs us there. I am going to stand below and on the count of three, I want you to jump down. Please trust me, Lily, I am going to catch you.”

Lily still wants to know what the matter is, but Dad is already on the ground. Lily does not know how on earth she is going to be able to jump this high … “I have to trust Dad, he will catch me…” Lily whispers to herself. She closes her eyes, because she is too scared to look down to where she must jump.

“Are you ready Lily? I am ready to catch you, Dear.” Lily moves her bum towards the edge of the platform, her eyes hardly open. She has never been this afraid. It feels as if her pounding heart is going to jump out of her body. Dad starts counting and Lily whispers: “I must trust Daddy, he will catch me…”

Lily jumps in the direction of Dad’s voice. Then she feels his strong arms embracing her. He hugs her: “I am so proud of you! You did it!” Lily looks at the jungle gym and cannot believe that she actually did it. It was tough, but she is sure that she will be able to do it again.

Lily and her Dad hurry home to go and help Mommy. A water pipe has burst and the water is running down the street.

That evening, after all the drama with the water pipe was over, Lily lies in bed. This is the first chance she actually has to tell Mom about her achievement in the park. Mom is so proud of Lily, because she knows how scared she is of heights. “Lily, you chose to trust Daddy in the same way that we must learn to trust the Lord. When you closed your eyes, you could not see Daddy, yet you knew he was there. Similarly, we cannot see the Lord, but we know that He is there to help us. Maybe you and I can go to the park tomorrow and then you can try to swing. I think you are going to enjoy it very much!”

Lily closes her eyes and in her mind’s eye she sees herself swinging in the park. She actually likes the feeling, Maybe she must consider swinging after all!

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