Twice a month, I get to go to a community center downtown to read to kids. I have so much fun hanging out with them, and it never fails – I always come back with some pretty hilarious quotes from the little guys and gals.
This past Monday, there weren’t many children there. At first only two girls showed up – they wanted to help read the stories, so we took turns going through the pages of The Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Apple King. There were some pretty funny comments from the girls throughout the reading time, but that wasn’t what really touched my heart this time around.
After the two girls headed off to play elsewhere, a stocky little boy of maybe 5 or 6 walked in the door. The boy shrugged his giant coat off onto the floor and sat down slowly and shyly, barely making eye contact with me. I asked him if he would like to read the stories, and he nodded ever so slightly. So we went through the pages and the pictures again, laughing at Sooki’s journey through the jungle and smiling with the Apple King as he learned how to share with his loyal subjects. By the end of the books, it was almost as if the boy’s whole countenance had changed. For a while, he just stared off into space with the smallest hint of a smile on his face. I could almost see his little imagination racing at top speeds as he sat there quietly.
Since Mondays are often busy for me, I usually leave the community center fairly quickly after the books have been read. But last week, I just knew I had been given an opportunity. I decided to quit worrying about the other things I needed to do and to sit there for a bit. Nothing exciting or extraordinary happened – the boy and I just talked. We discussed macaroni and cheese and fishing and my baby Noah, and we also dialogued about crocodiles and ice cream.
When I finally stood up to leave, the little boy grabbed my arm (and my heart) and said, “Can’t you just stay?” I told him that I had to go home, but that I would be back to read to him another time. “Tomorrow?” he asked. I let him know we could definitely hang out in two weeks with more fun books, and he seemed satisfied with that.
I don’t know what the boy’s name was, and I doubt he thinks much about what we shared 7 days ago. I may only see him a few more times before Scott and I move to the Dominican. But I really hope that at least for a little moment in time, he felt the deep and infinite love of a Savior who cares for him more than he’ll ever know.
I hope that God continues to orchestrate situations so that I can give Him to others, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I know I’m not worthy of these opportunities, especially since I pass them by so often. I just want Him to be known and made famous because He’s so worthy!