Allow me to show you an image:
Doesn’t look like much, does it? Trust me, even had the camera resolution been better, it isn’t much. Just a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim.
Why would I show you such a thing? To tell you a story, of course.
Ten years ago, a princess packed her belongings into her car and drove them to her new castle. She left behind two stacks for her family to pick up: one stack to keep and one stack to take to a community garage sale.
Weeks later, while unpacking her boxes, the princess realized something was missing. Something very important to her. A dollhouse. It was nothing special to look at. Just a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim. After some investigation, she learned the dollhouse had gone to the garage sale by accident. And been sold. Not for much. It wasn’t worth much.
Why, then, was this princess heart-broken at the loss?
Twenty-four years before that day, the princess had piled all the wood she could find into a red wagon and wheeled it out to her father the king. She had to wait for him to finish welding a joint and lift his mask to notice her. Her request was simple.
“Daddy, would you build me a dollhouse?”
Her father looked at her pale face with its enormous glasses and her carefully stacked pile of plywood. He set down his welding torch and took an hour to turn that wood into a toy. Her mother the queen helped her decorate with faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim. The princess was happy with her dollhouse for many years. When her father the king died while the princess herself was still young, the dollhouse became even more precious to her.
When the heart-broken princess told this story to the garage sale organizer, she prompted a memory. It was possible the buyer of the dollhouse was known. The princess was given a name and a number.
She called and heard her dollhouse had indeed been purchased by another king and queen as a gift for two other young princesses. In honor of her father the king, the princess decided the new owners could keep the dollhouse, but begged to have it back when those princesses were grown and ready to have princesses of their own.
Years passed, and the princess thought of her dollhouse often. She wondered if the promise made so many years ago would hold or if her dollhouse was already broken and abandoned.
Three weeks ago, the princess thought of the dollhouse one more time.
“Father in heaven,” she prayed, “it’s yours, not mine. It is only a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon trim. Whether I have it or not, I know my father loved me and I know You love me, too.”
Two weeks ago, the princess’s phone rang. It was the other queen. The royal family was moving, the princesses were grown and the dollhouse was waiting for her.
The pictures above show my dollhouse, made with love by my earthly father and returned with love by my heavenly Father. It is shabbier. The braided red ribbon is torn and the faux fur has faded a bit. The other princesses decorated it with stickers and crayons, but that only shows they loved it, too.
One day, the dollhouse will crumble to dust. Until that day, it will stay with me as a memorial – to my father and to my King, who cares deeply about the broken heart of a princess who misses her daddy.