The Hound of Heaven*

Jul 27, 2021

This week I’m home alone with my youngest daughter. My oldest daughter pops in and out between her shifts and visits with her boyfriend. She has a new cat. She promised it would be no problem at all. But … I’m worried. The last time I peeked into her room, the cat was up high, walking the headboard like an Olympic gymnast. The cat toys are scattered across the floor, and there’s a faint trail of kitty litter taking shape, leading out from the closet to somewhere under the bed. I’m only waiting for the smell to start seeping out beyond the reach of my daughter’s constantly running aromatherapy machine.

My youngest daughter is fifteen years old. She’ll be sixteen in less than a month. She doesn’t speak, she drools despite three surgeries to remove all known saliva glands, she has cerebral palsy on her right side (because her left hemisphere is missing), and she acts like a tyrant … a sweet one who apparently believes she’s entitled.

She is amazing despite her disabilities. Since my husband left for a week’s long fishing trip, she’s been my constant shadow, following me everywhere, and I mean everywhere, including waiting outside the water closet door until I’ve finished my business and emerge, relieved, to her open arms. She keeps a continuous “eye on me,” signaling with two fingers pointing at her own eyes, then pointing back at me with a grin.

I can’t take much more of this.

Does she love me too much? I say yes, based upon how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

I know … I’m really broken.

She is like the Hound of Heaven in relentless pursuit, drawing close at every opportunity to give me a pat on the shoulder, or standing at the ready as I prepare for bed, looking closely at my face to see if I’ll need a makeup wipe (or not) while pulling the floss, toothpaste, and Oil of Olay out of the drawer. Whenever I walk into the family room, she quickly switches to the Phineas and Ferb episode that includes a vampire song … “I’m haunted by you, and you are haunted by me too …” She plays it only for me.

When she was born, the adoption agency called, but only after the original adoptive couple had backed out. I won’t repeat the entire story. I’ll only say that it was meant to be. God sent her. To hound me with love. To heal me.

I’ve often wondered why. I suspect He grew weary of my resistance to His advances, and called upon my daughter to staff an earthly mission in regard to little old me. He has a mission for every one of us. Believe me. Pay attention.

It occurred to me that God wasn’t satisfied with how things had worked out (to that point). Not that there hadn’t been progress, but deep personality disruptions don’t just disappear overnight. Here’s a snapshot …

People have called me fiercely independent. I am. Why? I became independent as a result of being left to my own devices. You might have too … to survive.

People have called me unusually direct and ice-cold-clinically-minded. I am. Why? I became adept at quick analytical processing and the strategic use of silence and speech to de-escalate threatening situations.

People have called me sweet. I am. Why? Because that’s how God made me. Unfortunately, it has rarely been seen by others because my personality development was disrupted early on, becoming something other than what it was meant to be. Even now I live in two minds. My interior life is filled with sweet intentions and thoughts. On the outside? Not so much. I’m guarded and analytical, always assessing the threat, and leaving people feeling distanced from me.

My daughter doesn’t see any of it, only the sweetness. It drives me nuts.

I can’t tell you how terrifying this is for me.

Good grief … she just walked over to tickle my feet.


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