Itsy-Bitsy Gift

Three daughters, young, beautiful, 7, 5, and 2, dark-skinned, Mom with a slight accent. “Chad” she answered to my query about her home country. She had lived in ours for ten years and was now enjoying a hot breakfast at our FOCUS dining room with her young girls, sitting by themselves since most folks were done.

The little one invisibly beckoned me to come and sit beside her, and then (in my mind) whispered “I have a gift I want to give you, a blessing to warm your heart.”

Now who can resist such a mysterious invitation, thought the father of three beautiful daughters who once were those same ages. So down I sat right next to this tiny one in her booster chair, and immediately began appreciating her simple braids and delicate features. She turned and stared at me, expressionless, pure, innocent, perhaps never having had a large light-skinned male so close to her. She didn’t seem to mind at all. Her job at two years old was simply to “observe and absorb” everything entering her field of reference. It’s what kids do. It’s part of the gift they bring if one has eyes to see and ears to hear, reminding us of the sacred reality of being, of communion.

In spite of my banter, I couldn’t seem to arouse any kind of response from the little one: no words, no fear, no discomfort, no looking at Mom for reassurance, no smile or frown, just gentle innocent eyes meeting mine. It was as if she had been waiting for me to join her. I was loving it because sometimes we human types get to “just sit” in each other’s presence. That’s right – it’s actually an important thing we have full permission from God to do. . . an agenda-less moment, sans all cell phones or other technological distractions.

After about five minutes or so, the little one inaudibly asked me to sing her a song. (excuse me, Randy, your imagination is a little weird here.) No it’s not – I have empirical proof that is what she said in her mind . . . it was the gift she had for me.

“Itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. . .” My hands automatically illustrated this age-old story of life on Planet Earth. And then, at about the 3rd line, her little face turned to me, a beautiful smile slowly emerged, and those tiny little-girl lips began to mimic the words. No little-girl voice was heard, but it was clear: she had heard those very words before and loved them, and was glad to have the chance to join in. The invisible hosts of heaven hummed along in amazement and joy.

I cannot put into words how this moved and warmed my heart, how it transported me to a place of wonder, reflection, and thankfulness to God for this little one’s gift in that moment, totally unexpected, amazingly therapeutic to my tired body and spirit.

We connected through music, two fellow travelers separated by 65 years and thousands of experiences. And at that moment we were completely one and the same, touching heaven together. And I believe Mary, the mother of our God, smiled at the memories of songs she once had shared with her young child Jesus, the only True Friend of mankind. What a profound gift.

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