There is a part of me that is always going to see Camber this way. I’m guessing that my perspective isn’t all that different from other dads. We had an experience on vacation this summer that further exposed my sentimental heart.
There was a boy that bullied Camber in the kids program on board our cruise. He ripped a project Camber was working on away from her and tied it around her head. She wasn’t physically hurt but she left the program immediately to find us. She was holding it all in and together until she saw us.
There are no words to describe what began to burn inside me. I was beyond angry. Obviously, I was going to have a conversation with the adult staff (after I calmed down a bit) but in that moment all I wanted to do was find that kid and throw him in the ocean.
After dinner, we sat down in the theater waiting on the show. Cayden informs me – “There he is, dad. That’s him.” He walks right past us and sits three rows up and to the right. Camber is visibly rattled.
I leaned over to Camber – “Is that the boy?”
“Yes, Dad… but please don’t say anything.”
“What’s his name?”
“His name is Luke but Dad…”
I love my daughters very much but I’m not really going to take advice from them on this subject. Amy was trying to talk me out of confronting him. Mainly because she didn’t really want to see that boy drown.
I walked up to him and his family.
“Is your name Luke?”
He was playing the cool kid card. “Yeah.”
“Well, Luke, is your dad around?”
I spoke slower this time. “Is your dad on this boat?”
The cool kid was beginning to crack. He shook his head no. The older woman sitting next to him spoke up. “These are my grandsons.” She said it so proudly, so happy.
I just looked at her.
“Luke. I’d like for you to turn around and look over there at my daughter.”
“No, seriously. Look at her.”
“My daughter says that you took her pillowcase, tied it around her head, cussed her out and bullied her. Is this true?”
Luke was shaking his head no and looking at his grandmother way before I finished the sentenced. Not only was he a bully…he didn’t even know how to lie. He was lying. I knew he was lying. He knew that I knew he was lying. His cousin/brother/buddy next him knew he was lying. His grandmother knew.
I just looked at him. No smile. No words.
“So you didn’t touch my daughter?”
He was no longer trying to be cool. He was scared. He kept shaking his head no. He had a death grip on the seat.
I wasn’t yelling. In fact, it was eerie how calm and collected I sounded. I wanted to make sure he heard every word I was about to say so I leaned a bit and almost whispered to him.
“Luke, if you are telling the truth, you have nothing to worry about. You just enjoy the rest of your cruise. If you are lying to me…”
“If you touch my daughter again, the next conversation we have will not be this pleasant. Do we have an understanding?”
And I waited for his answer. I waited till he looked me in the face and said yes.
I sat right behind Camber and I whispered in her ear. “Sit up. Look right at him if he looks at you. Hold your head up. You are not a victim. You are precious.”
She whispered back…”Dad — what if he does it again?”
“Cammy, I don’t think he will bother you again but if he does…”
“I want you to beat the crap out of him.”
She started laughing and we didn’t have any more issues with Luke.
What’s my point?
In the moment, all I was thinking about was there was no way any person was ever going to treat my girls that way. Ever. I didn’t care what it cost me to confront that kid. I probably did embarrass her. It was awkward and uncomfortable to be sure. But none of that mattered in the grand scale of things. There was a larger issue at stake and I had to deal with it because I’m the Dad.
Even though I wasn’t thinking about it in the moment, there are some spiritual parallels here.
The biggest bully in the universe is sin and death is its unbeatable weapon. The Father becomes the Son to confront this bully and defeat its ‘unbeatable weapon.’
Jesus on the cross, Jesus the person, Jesus as Son of God may embarrass us, He may put us in awkward and uncomfortable moments, we may not like the way he dresses or speaks or even the things he says but none of that changes the fact that He deals with the biggest issues in our life and provides the opportunity for healing and redemption. Whether we embrace that, laugh with him, walk with him or not is on us.
And here’s the kicker – the WHY of it all. I think sometimes we hear the story of Jesus and a part of us thinks – “Well, He’s God. He sort of had to do it.” No, he didn’t. He did it because he’s crazy about us. He loves us.
The last thing I was thinking about as I was talking to that kid was “I’m the dad and I guess I need to do this because it will be a good example.” I was mad as…well…you know, I was mad because someone that I love more than myself had been wounded. And I was going to fix it as best as I could.
That’s what the Cross is. That’s us through the Dad’s eyes.