Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Drop Everything

Tiny two-year-old Hazel reached up and touched a hot griddle on the stove. With five adults and five little ones in the kitchen, you’d think it could have been avoided. But she watched her cousins -- ages three, five, six, and nine -- make crepes on the griddle with one of the adults, and when that adult looked away for a second, Hazel reached up, curious about how that worked up there. Ouch! We put her little hand in ice water and applied a burn ointment as we called a pediatrician friend on what to watch for. The blisters on the heel part of the thumb measured about 1.5 inches. Don’t worry -- she’ll be fine, and her tiny hand already looks better.

A major lesson here: never take your eyes off a child in the kitchen; we thought we had that one down pat. But it was another lesson that brought tears to our eyes. The instant this happened, all the children scattered as if on cue. Lewie, three, ran off for her night-night bear; James for his blue bunny, Lillian her Minnie Mouse and Emma, a dancing and singing frog! They were back in a flash, laying each treasure at Hazel’s feet while she sat on her mommy’s lap on the kitchen floor. As the picture shows, it was more than a gesture; it was a shrine and Hazel was beautifully distracted and comforted by her cousins’ outpouring of love. Eventually the entourage accompanied her mommy carrying her upstairs for naptime. All of the offerings, seldom if ever parted with, much less given away, were held up to the crib just in case they were needed.

How often do I drop everything and give attention to the most important matter of the moment? How much more often do I overlook something because I’m self-absorbed or on a roll with an idea or trying to meet a deadline? This picture of typically and naturally self-absorbed children dropping everything to focus on someone else’s needs will inspire me for a long time! It’s the picture of God dropping everything, in a sense, to hear and answer my prayers, to heal my cut finger, feed my anguished soul. Of course, being omnipotent, He can do everything at once. But since I can’t, I need to remember to put something down to tend to something else more important. To know when to do that, I personally have to read a bit of the Bible daily. It tenderizes my heart to watch for the moment to drop everything and go where He might need me to be, as the children did that day.

It may not be as obvious as the physician on the airplane who jumps forward from his seat when the flight attendant requests a medical person or an off-duty police officer chasing down a suspect. But all around us are people needing something we can offer. Hazel didn’t ask for anything, but her cousins knew without a word that she needed comfort, and they delivered! Ask God to nudge you when the time is right to give of what you have. And if, by any chance, it’s your beloved night night bear, may He help you loosen your grip. When we do it for Him, it’s with no strings attached! Ecclesiastes 11:1 says to “Cast your bread upon the waters: for you will find it after many days.” God takes care of you. Now go do it for someone else!

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