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Sunday, February 24, 2008

THROUGH MY CHILDS EYES

We were the only family with a child in the restaurant. I sat Josiah in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Josiah squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Josiah. My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What should we do?' Josiah continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.'

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Josiah, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door.

My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Josiah,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Josiah leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Josiah had propelled himself from my arms to the man. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship.


Josiah in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Josiah in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine.

He said in a firm commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a tone. He pried Josiah from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Josiah in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Josiah so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?' when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.' Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others.

The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you are.

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5 comments:

wifespeak said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes, too. I learn so many new things from my children, too. And like you, my children's innocence have showed me a number of times what being Christian is all about. As adults, we have acquired so many hang-ups that we forget to seek the beautiful in our encounters. Thanks, dear, for reminding us, your friends in the blogging world. By the way, I've got a tag for you back in my site.

AngelBaby said...

I am involved in environmentalism. I was very involved in closing down toxic waste dumps for many years. I worked with greeenpeace, they even stayed at my house. At fist my children were afraid of them because the were a pretty rangy bunch. I told them to look past their appearance and talk to them. Well, my children did what I told them to do. They were amazed at what they had to say. Now most of greenpeace people are very well educated so they are amazing to talk to.

I was visiting some very dear friends of mine, who go to church every Sunday. They told me that if greenpeace people would just put on a suit and tie then other people would listen to them. I said, what would Jesus look like today? They said he would be dress nicely because he was a Crpenter. I said no he would not be dressed nicely, He was homeless and a wonderer teaching people the truth. He would be dressed just like a homeless person. Now, I told them I would stop and talk to him just to hear what he had to say. You on the other hand would walk away and miss out on talking to Jesus! They just sat there and thought about what I had to say.

I taught my children never look at the cover always check to see what is inside before you judge anything. This is so true today just as it was when Jesus walked the earth many years ago. We need to look at a persons heart before we condemn them. After all Love is all there is!

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Colorado Baby Cares said...

ANGEL BABY and WIFESPEAK, I greatly appreciate your wonderful comments. I am pleased to know that people like you two really
understand what I was trying to say. I SAY DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER...LOVE YA BOTH
Colorado baby Cares....

jasmine ann said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It brought tears to my eyes too and a "full" feeling in my heart. No matter what peoples circumstances turn out to be, everyone was after all someones baby once...To share kindness and love in this world surely is a great gift. It is so easy to judge on appearances Your baby just saw the person without any judgement, fear or embarrassment-how beautiful.

Ellen said...

I went looking for this story today and am furious that it is uncited all over the place. This was written by Nancy L. Dahlberg and published in at least two of William Baush's books. This is (a) stolen and (b) changed. It properly ends at "My God, my God, forgive me", the kid's name is Erik, and other sentences are changed as well. Nancy L. Dahlberg is an ordained Christian minister and deserves to have her work properly cited and shared in it's original form, or if not, noted as changed. You may have received it as an anonymous email, but someone has actually plagiarized this.