Tonight I went to a barbecue with friends from my transitional ward last summer. I dare say I've never come across a more welcoming group of people, as I was only in their ward for a few weeks, but they've never ceased to include me in their gatherings. It's so nice to have a large group of guy friends that are so welcoming and friendly. And always willing take me for midnight dance limo rides.
But tonight I spent the evening with my buddy's little girl, a five year old named Sami. We sat on a little bench, eating our food and talking about her favorite summer activities. Then we imagined what animals would say if they could talk. Then we grabbed a blanket for her as the sun dimmed, and tucked her in tight. She crawled into my lap and we went through my Instagram, having her tell me if she liked the photo or not, and I'd double-tap or keep scrolling depending on her answer. Then we finished the night singing and dancing to Burn by Ellie Goulding. Josh came to take her home, and she was so saddened that I couldn't come, throwing her little arms around me. I told her that we'd race each home to our own beds, and then see each other again soon.
Later Josh texted me for being so sweet to his little girl. He said that she doesn't have a strong woman influence in her life, and it meant a lot to him that I spent my time with her, when I could have been hanging out with the guys. He said that she didn't stop talking about me until she fell asleep.
My eyes watered up at the incredible amount of care that comes from a child. Their love is so pure and freely giving. It warms my heart and reminds me a lot of what true love should feel like. And to feel that really stings me, given all the opposite that I have experienced.
This tender care reminds me of an email from one month ago when my buddy Ben emailed and spoke of a spiritual and tender experience we shared a couple years back. He told me of his deep care and loving concern for me that night, sensing I desperately needed someone to be in my corner. He felt Heavenly Father's love for me more strongly than he has for anyone else before. He knew there was something extraordinary about me, and I am now counted amongst the very few he intimately trusts.
These types of love and trust - it's so much for me to experience. The world has been harsh to me. But it has pockets of such overwhelming sweetness that I end my days in grateful tears.
Upward and onward,