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Text Illustrations
The following words come from THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE, by Gary Smalley and John Trent:


His leaving had been abrupt and unforeseen. His wife had come home from shopping one day and found the note on the refrigerator. The words were brief and cold. He was tired of trying to make their marriage work. He had found another woman he said he really loved. He was leaving. He had already seen a lawyer and had the divorce papers drawn up.


Two weeks later, he drove into the driveway, got out of the car, but left the motor running. The woman was in the passenger side of the car. There was a lot of shouting on the porch when he coldly refused to come in. He dropped off the papers in a manila envelope, stormed off the porch and drove out of their lives, leaving their family in shambles.


He refused counsel. He refused to seek reconciliation. He refused to listen to the church. He set his jaw in disobedience to God and disregard to anyone who approached him. It appeared that he would never turn around.


What can be said to a man like that to get through the thick walls of rationalization and self justification he has erected around his heart?


One night, when everyone else was asleep, his oldest daughter wrote him this letter:


Dear Daddy, It’s late at night, and I’m sitting in the middle of my bed writing to you. I’ve wanted to talk with you so many times during the past few weeks. But there never seems to be any time when we’re alone. Dad, I realize you’re dating someone else. And I know you and Mom may never get back together….


Don’t think that Mom asked me to write this. She didn’t. She doesn’t know I’m writing, and neither does Brian. I just want to share with you what I’ve been thinking.


Dad, I feel like our family has been riding in a nice car for a long time. You know, the kind you always like to have as a company car. It’s the kind that has every extra inside and not a scratch on the outside. But over the years, the car has developed some problems. It’s smoking a lot, the wheels wobble, and the seat covers are ripped. The car’s been really hard to drive or ride in because of all the shaking and squeaking. But it’s still a great automobile - or at least it could be. With a little work, I know it could run for years. Since we got the car, Brian and I have been in the back seat while you and Mom have been up front. We feel really secure with you driving and Mom beside you.


But last month, Mom was at the wheel. It was night time, and we had just turned the corner near our house. Suddenly, we all looked up and saw another car, out of control, heading straight for us. Mom tried to swerve out of the way, but the other car still smashed into us. The impact sent us flying off the road and crashing into a lamppost.


The thing is, Dad, just before being hit, we could see that you were driving the other car. And we saw something else: Sitting next to you was another woman. It was such a terrible accident that we were all rushed to the emergency ward. But when we asked where you were, no one knew. We’re still not really sure where you are or if you were hurt or if you need help.

Mom was really hurt. She was thrown into the steering wheel and broke several ribs. One of them punctured her lungs and almost pierced her heart. When the car wrecked, the back door smashed into Brian. He was covered with cuts from the broken glass, and he shattered his arm, which is now in a cast.


But that’s not the worst. He’s still in so much pain and shock that he doesn’t want to talk or play with anyone. As for me, I was thrown from the car. I was stuck out in the cold for a long time with my right leg broken.


As I lay there, I couldn’t move and didn’t know what was wrong with Mom and Brian. I was hurting so much myself that I couldn’t help them. There have been times since that night when I wondered if any of us would make it. Even though we’re getting a little better, we’re all still in the hospital. The doctors say I’ll need a lot of therapy on my leg, and I know they can help me get better. But I wish it was you who was helping me, instead of them. The pain is so bad, but what’s even worse is that we all miss you so much. Every day we wait to see if you’re going to visit us in the hospital, and every day you don’t come. I know it’s over. But my heart would explode with joy if somehow I could look up and see you walk into my room.


At night when the hospital is really quiet, they push Brian and me into Mom’s room, and we all talk about you. We talk about how much we loved driving with you and how we wish you were with us now. Are you all right? Are you hurting from the wreck? Do you need us like we need you? If you need me, I’m here and I love you. Your daughter, Kimberly


A week after sending her father that letter, Kimberly stayed home with Brian and her mother rather than attend an evening high-school football game.


Actually, nursing a broken heart, she just didn’t feel like cheering and laughing with friends. That evening, her father showed up at the house to talk to her. "Kimberly. How’s your leg, honey?" "My leg?" "I got your letter." "Oh...well, it hasn’t been doing too well." "I’m sorry I hurt you so badly, Kimberly. You don’t know how sorry I am. Your letter came when I didn’t know if I could ever return to the family. I felt I’d gone too far... but your story showed me how much pain I’d caused you all. Is your Mom upstairs? I’m not promising anything, but I think we need to get some help. There’s a lot we have to work out. I’m going to give it all I have."

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