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Are All the Children In?

I think oft times as night draws nigh
Of the old farmhouse on the hill,
Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred
Where the children played at will.
And when the night at last came down
Hushing the merry din,
Mother would look around and ask,
“Are all the children in?”

Oh, it’s many, many a year since then,
And the house on the hill
No longer echoes to childish feet
And the yard is still, so still.

But I see it all, as the shadows creep,
And though many the years since then
I can still hear my mother ask,
“Are all the children in?”

I wonder if when the shadows fall
On the last short, earthly day,
When we say good-by to the world outside
All tired with our childish play,
When we step out into the other Land
Where mother so long has been,
Will we hear her ask, just as of old,
“Are all the children in?”

– Florence Jones Hadley

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A Child’s Love at Christmas

Christmas DollBy John London

I hurried into the local department store to grab some last-minute Christmas gifts. I looked at all the people and grumbled to myself. I would be in here forever and I just had so much to do. Christmas was beginning to become such a drag. I kinda wished that I could just sleep through Christmas. But I hurried the best I could through all the people to the toy department. Once again I mumbled to myself at the prices of all these toys and wondered if the grandkids would even play with them.

I found myself in the doll aisle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a little boy about five holding a lovely doll. He kept touching her hair and he held her so gently. I could not seem to help myself. I just kept looking over at the little boy and wondered who the doll was for. I watched him turn to a woman he called his aunt and say, “Are you sure I don’t have enough money?” She replied a bit impatiently, “You know that you don’t have enough money for it.” The aunt told the little boy not to go anywhere; that she had to go get some other things and would be back in a few minutes. And then she left the aisle. The boy continued to hold the doll.

After a bit I asked the boy who the doll was for. He said, “It is the doll my sister wanted so badly for Christmas. She just knew that Santa would bring it.” I told him that maybe Santa was going to bring it. He said “No, Santa can’t go where my sister is … I have to give the doll to my momma to take to her.” I asked him where his sister was.

He looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, “She has gone to be with Jesus. My daddy says that Momma is going to have to go be with her.” My heart nearly stopped beating. Then the boy looked at me again and said, “I told Daddy to tell Momma not to go yet. I told him to tell her to wait till I got back from the store.” Then he asked me if I wanted to see his picture. I told him I would love to. He pulled out some pictures he’d had taken at the front of the store. He said, “I want my momma to take this with her so she won’t ever forget me. I love my momma so very much and I wish she didn’t have to leave me, but Daddy says she will need to be with my sister.”

I saw that the little boy had lowered his head and had grown so very quiet. While he was not looking, I reached into my purse and pulled out a handful of bills. I asked the little boy, “Shall we count that money one more time?” He grew excited and said, “Yes, I just know it has to be enough.” So I slipped my money in with his and we began to count it.

Of course, it was plenty for the doll. He softly said, “Thank You Jesus for giving me enough money.” Then the boy said, “I just asked Jesus to give me enough money to buy this doll so Momma can take it with her to give to my sister, and He heard my prayer. I wanted to ask Him for enough to buy my momma a white rose, but I didn’t ask Him; but He’s given me enough to buy the doll and a rose for Momma! She loves white roses so very, very much.”

In a few minutes the aunt came back and I wheeled my cart away. I could not keep from thinking about the little boy as I finished my shopping in a totally different spirit than when I had started. I kept remembering a story I had seen in the newspaper several days earlier about a drunk driver hitting a car and killing a little girl and the mother was in serious condition. The family was deciding on whether to remove the life support. Surely this little boy did not belong with that story.

Two days later I read in the paper that the family had disconnected the life support and the young woman had died. I couldn’t forget the little boy and just kept wondering if the two were somehow connected. Later that day, I couldn’t help myself, I went out and bought some white roses and took them to the funeral home where the young woman was. There she was, holding a lovely white rose, the beautiful doll, and the picture of the little boy in the store.

I left there in tears, my life changed forever. The love that little boy had for his little sister and his mother was overwhelming. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

via How We Make a Life.

My Son, the Unicorn

Unicorn by a waterfall“I’m a unicorn that lives on a horse farm. All the horses don’t like me because I’m a special horse. None of the other horses look like me because I’m a special horse.”

I only noticed their dialogue mid-conversation. My daughter and son were playing a make-believe game and choosing their characters. My daughter, the rule maker—always wanting to be in charge—replied to her brother’s definite stance:

“No, you have to be a horse.”

My son made it clear that he wasn’t interested in the game if he wasn’t allowed to be a unicorn. After a few more definitive rules of the game, he finally acquiesced.

“Okay, but I’m a special horse because I’m a white horse and all the other horses are brown.”

At that, my horse-children galloped on all fours off to some meadow in the distance (a.k.a. the living room) and I didn’t catch any more of the conversation.

My son has had an interest in unicorns for some time. A few months ago, when discussing the matter with his cousin—who was trying to gently explain to him that there was no such thing as unicorns—my son sounded like a teacher patiently trying to help a student grasp a concept.

“Yes, there are unicorns. They don’t live on earth anymore but they live in Heaven.”

The two children finally realized they agreed on the fact that there are no unicorns on earth and left it at that.

My children have always expressed an interest in Heaven. When my son was three, I remember him asking me if fish go to heaven. My daughter, when she was roughly the same age, said that she had a sister in heaven.

Heaven, a place of wonder and beauty, a place of color and life, a place so beyond the scope of the imagination that it has been written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered the heart of men the things God has prepared for them that love Him.”

A family for those who have none. Friends for those who passed through life without a close companion. Mansions for the homeless and poor. Eternal peace and joy for those who suffer and cry. And yes, a unicorn of rainbow colors for a child who never stopped believing that they exist, even if they can’t be seen on Earth.

The faith of a little child.

“Only the pure in heart can see a unicorn.” – Ancient legend