It is a beautiful morning. The air is fragrant with spring and this is the time of day when the birds sing in the huge white pines north of the house. I need an excuse to go out. Instead of brewing my own coffee, I jump in the car and drive the back way along Salt Creek to get a cup from McDonalds. One of the children has used my car. I try to keep it impeccably neat. It’s not at all new, but it runs well, gets good mileage, and it is clean. Turning to back out I notice two green gumdrops on the back seat. They make me pray:
“Lord, how am I going to teach my children not to eat gumdrops? Their teeth are going to decay away. Lord, I try to keep my car neat. It’s a good testimony that way. I want my children to learn orderliness and cleanliness. They are character qualities. Without character qualities they won’t do well in life. Lord, how do I teach them to clean up after themselves? It seems like I’ve told them these things a thousand times. Lord, I’m worried about these things. Will my children have teeth when they are my age? Will they live in squalor?”
But on my way for coffee I look at these two green gumdrops on the seat beside me. I am tempted to toss them out the window so my car will be clean but for some odd reason I can’t. I want to hold on to them. I think maybe it was little Hope who left them there.
Driving along the creek toward my morning coffee I suppose Hope will be our last child. It won’t be long and there will be no green gumdrops in the back seat. There will be no little chattering girl in the back seat. I will still turn my worries for her into prayers, but they will be about weightier matters than tooth decay and personal tidiness.
Those two green gumdrops on the seat beside me soften my heart. I pray again; “Lord, please help me to have a heart full of patient love for Hope and for Lois and for the other children. Remind me that our days together are numbered. Help me to have the sweet long-suffering of Jesus on my face and in my heart during the few short hours each day that I get to be with them. When years from now they remember my face, Jesus, please help them remember it with a smile of loving approval and not with a scowl of impatience. May the aroma of patient love permeate our home like the fresh fragrance of spring and give me a song every morning like the birds in the pines at dawn. Oh, and Lord, thank you for letting me find those two little green gumdrops in the back seat this morning. Amen.”
April 23, 2007