“You don’t look at me, Lydia. You look all over and around the room and sometimes I’m just another thing in it.”

Her eyes darted over my shoulder, scanned the corners of the room, traced the lines of the ceiling then followed them to the window. Her eyes skipped across the yard, watching some imaginary sprite of herself outside of herself, dancing toward the forest. Spinning to the horizon. Staring at the line where earth and space divide and seeing it as just another fork in the road.

I leaned sideways to break her line of sight. “Lydia,” I said softly, “What do you see?”

She held eye contact for the briefest of seconds and said with genuine amazement, “Everything.”

“Everything.” Then she immediately continued her inspection of bugs in the light fixtures and watermarks on books, the fascinating way dust travels on roads of light on its reentry from space and the surprising way the rug curls up on the edges like an ancient scroll, a soap bubble reflecting the room like magic, and the way it explodes with a sudden delicate violence. She saw door hinges, a deflated balloon, a piece of pink yarn, a stack of paper, a map, her father, a shadow, the world, infinity, everything.

I gently took her face in my hands and pulled myself toward her. “Sweetheart, I want you to listen to your father for a moment. I have seen everything that is over my shoulder already. I have been there and back and I want you to understand, little dreamer, that everything is out there, and it’s beautiful and frightening and exciting and wonderful, but everything worth anything is right here.” I kissed her on the forehead, and felt her smile fold into the palms of my hands. And it was only then that I began to understand God.