She’s 16 and I’m Old

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. — James 1:17

Well, it finally happened. That sweet, innocent little girl, who used to hang on my every word, has hit her Sweet Sixteen. And I’m discovering what every father has had to discover, that it should, perhaps, be called [Bitter]Sweet Sixteen.

She no longer listens to me play my flute; she prefers the music flowing through her ear buds. She still likes her old man, but she absolutely adores her younger older men — guys with numbers in their names, like One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer. And absolutely nothing will do for a present unless it’s “band merch.” Hers is a world of Facebooking, Tweeting, and fandoms. An enormously small world. One that is too small for me.

And, I’m willing to admit that I’m jealous of this new world of hers … her new friends … her new loves. Because her old loves are still here, pining away for her with sad eyes, like a puppy with whom she’s lost interest.

And I know it sounds sad, but I also know it’s only a phase. The old joke about boys applies here. They’re talking to you one minute, and then, “Ooo! Shiny!!” And that’s all this is for her, shiny baubles. She’s not stopped loving me. She’s only … distracted. And I know it’s only a matter of time. And then, when the things that catch her eye grow dim or distant — when the gems before her cease to shine and sparkle — she’ll come back to her senses. And turning around, scared and frightened, with that lost look in her eyes, she’ll find me there … patiently waiting.

Gracious Lord, thank you for being our Rock, the One on whom we can always depend, the true and unmoving North Star, and the “Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Every perfect gift does come from You, and please forgive us for being distracted by lesser things and lesser gods. But thank you so much, Lord, for not abandoning us to our own foolishness. Thank you for waiting patiently, pursuing us with tenderness, and being there for us to rediscover when we’ve come to our senses. Please, don’t let us waste too much time. Help us to return to you, our first love, as quickly as we can.

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