I was a latch-key kid for most of my childhood. This started around first grade and lasted pretty much through high school. On the plus side, it taught me to be very independent and self-reliant. I got myself up in the morning, walked to school, walked home, let myself in, did my homework and waited until my Mom got home. There was a point early on (second grade) where I also had to take two busses to and from school, managing transfers on my own. These were LA busses, with all that implies.
On the minus side, I was a very lonely kid.
Walking home by myself was particularly bad, and when I went home sick (my Mom had a job where she couldn’t leave during the day to pick me up), and was walking home without other kids around, it was particularly lonely.
I vividly remember one particular day when I was 9. I was coming home sick and it was raining really hard, and I was pretty miserable and certainly feeling sorry for myself. As I walked up the first hill on the way to the house, I noticed that it suddenly got sunny. Not everywhere, just around me. I could see it raining up and down the street, but around me nothing but brightness. It must have been one of those “God Rays” that you see, where the sun shines through a break in the clouds.
At the time, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was my father looking down on me. Now, I realize, it was my Father looking down on me. It lifted my spirits during a lonely time and kept me going. Thank you, Father.
Father God, when I look back on my life, I find that I don’t remember much. Some of it was very dark. However, I remember those many times where you looked down on me. When I felt a palpable, loving presence. Where you reached down and sheltered me. Comforted me. And walked next to me. I thank you for watching over me Father, and though I don’t deserve it, I thank you for loving me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.