When I was a child, my Father took me to the park. I went and gathered Him a fistful of fallen leaves. I gave Him a bouquet of reds, yellows, browns, oranges, and fading greens, saying, "Look Father! Look what I made for You!" He took them, laughed, and said, "No my love, I made them for you."
When I was in elementary school, I painted my Father a picture of us. "Look Father! Look how much I love you!" I said, holding it up with paint-stained hands. "How beautiful!" He said, and He pinned it onto the refrigerator door. I didn't mention that there were 10 other crumpled versions of it sitting in the trash can.
When I was in high school, I took a photography class. I snapped pictures of my Father saying, "Father, I want everyone to see how wonderful You are!" My Father took my camera and said, "Let me take your picture, and everyone will see something that is just as great."
When I grew up, I moved away. I sent my Father postcards with poems and stories written on the back. "Father, these words are just for You," I wrote. "These words are just for you too," He wrote back.
One day, I came home, saying, "I'm never leaving again." My Father took my hand, and asked," Why not?" I replied, "Because I covered the world with falling leaves, and the world told me to stop. I gave the world my paintings, and the world said that they weren't good enough. I gave the world my photos, and the world said that they needed improvement. I gave the world my poems, and the world said that someone else could write them better." My Father did not say a word, left, and came back with a box. He opened the lid and took out autumn leaves, crumpled up paintings, photographs, and handwritten postcards. "My child," He said, "I keep these things, because they were made for me out of love. They are good, because I say that they are good. You are good, because I have made you good. I love you no matter what the world says about you, and that is all that matters. You must go out into the world again, but I will always be here to remind you of this."
"Can I take this with me?" I asked, pointing to a crumpled painting. "Yes of course," He answer, "But bring it back. It's my favourite."