We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a
high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly,
Erik 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 Erik.
My husband and I exchanged looks,
'What do we do?'
Erik 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
Erik, 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 Erik,' 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, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's
'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled
himself from my arms to the man.
Suddenly a very smelly old man and a very young baby consummated their
love and kinship. Erik 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 Erik 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 stone.
He pried Erik 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 Erik in my arms, I ran
for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik 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. How did God feel when he
put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.
The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of
God , we must become as little children.'
If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on. 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
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.
Joh 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.