It Takes a Child

Dilbert

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi there.” He pounded his fat baby hands on the high-chair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He then, wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat; dirty, greasy and worn. His 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, hi there.” Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old man was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, “Do ya know 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 the door and me. “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 side step 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’s.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. 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 — gently, so gently, 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 for a moment, and then 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 — unwillingly, 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.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, “To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.”

This story was written by Nancy L. Dahlberg.  She is published in several William Baush books.
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76 comments
  1. Steph said:

    This story touched me. I thank GOD for leading me to this post :) I pray I would always see thru Jesus’ eyes. Thank you for stopping by my blog!

  2. You weren’t kidding on your header when you warned we might need Kleenex…

    • I believe the stories where a Kleenex is needed are the best!!! Thanks for the comment… Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

  3. pegges said:

    wow… this honestly brought tears to my eyes! …thank god I have tissues on my desk. Thank you for sharing.

  4. transitionstande said:

    Very powerful and moving story. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Beautiful story…thanks for sharing it. Won’t soon forget it!

    • Thanks for the comment and most of all thanks for just stopping by!!!! Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

  6. Amen! May God forgive us for often we tend to judge basing on the outward look while He looks at the heart. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow – that was powerful! Thank you for sharing that.

  8. Wow, your baby boy living out James 2:1-3 right before your eyes. I love how Father God uses our wee ones to teach us! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Such a lovely story. It reminds me of when my daughter was two and we were in downtown Portland early on a Saturday morning walking in a park. A homeless man was seated on a bench and my daughter kept picking up pretty leaves and giving them to him. He would thank her and she would run off to get another for him. Finally, when I could get her to leave he offered me his all-in-one knife/fork/spoon tool to give to her when she was older. I told him that he should keep it but he insisted… and I finally understood that he wanted to thank her for accepting and “seeing” him. And she still has that tool as a reminder of that Fall day.

    • What a wonderful testimony!!!! Thanks you so much for sharing… Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

    • Tsahraf said:

      Another lovely story. I love how this kind of meaning can be held by a thing so plain and common as leaves and a knife/fork/spoon tool. There are faces, human faces, in the things.

  10. Thanks for the reminder. Work with youth and yes so easy and yet so hard to come to that place as a life style.

  11. Great story-it is amazing how children can see the spirit of things while we get caught up in the flesh.

  12. a cup and and a couple of tears! what a way to start the day. thank you for this wonderfully written blog. there’s more to it than words. blessings!

  13. I was awestruck by this story. Thanks so much for sharing it with such honesty. I dare say most of us would have felt exactly the same way you did. By the way, thanks for liking my post today. I am now following you and looking forward to reading more of your stories. God Bless you!

  14. Thanks so much for this post! Absolutely humbling, and full of the REALNESS of God!

  15. loving31 said:

    I’m in tears and I’m hooked. Great story.

    • Thank you for the comment. When people say they are showing a few tears, it makes me happy!!! :-) Tear’s come from different emotions and these stories seem to draw out a bunch of different emotions at one time and it’s just over whelming. Then the tears show up. (Now that was a ramble) Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

  16. Ariel said:

    I teared up reading this. I guess that’s what I get for reading while the recommended cup of morning tea is still steeping.

    Thanks for sharing. Do you know if it’s a true story?

    • …I’m not sure if this is a true story. However, I have had this happen to me in a indirect way while visiting a church. Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

  17. Reblogged this on Mother City Murmurs and commented:
    This is a fantastic and moving story, well worth reading, and being challenged. It’s from the blog ‘morningstoryanddilbert’

  18. Reblogged this on God Happenings and commented:
    Sometimes when working with kids is messy and tiresome and seems so less than other careers, I read something like this and I am reminded of why it is I hang out with kids – because I learn so much from them.

  19. Beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing. Kids are amazing, aren’t they?
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and liking my post. It is always a blessing when someone does that.

  20. Reblogged this on Hopeful and commented:
    I really liked this story. I understand that it was originally published in a devotional called “No Compromise” by Jim Burns, Ph. D. [2002], and is published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light Publishers.

  21. My gosh, this is ABSOLUTELY amazing, we really do worry and try our best to protect our kids when in turn, they are the ones teaching us. We are so exposed to a cruel world that we automatically respond with fear when it comes to particular things and, no fault of ours, the world is a difficult-at-times place, but it’s sweet to know there is some good going on and this sweet child of yours brought it out – AWESOME!!!

  22. Totally a tear maker! This morning on our walk I said good morning and smiled at someone, who just woke up from their sleep on a park bench, as I walked by. I’m so glad that I did… I’ve heard that they rarely get eye contact from anyone- heartbreaking!

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • morningstoryanddilbert said:

      Wonderful comment!!! :-) Kenny T

    • That does seem to be true. Thanks for that observation.

  23. I don’t cry. This did it. Profound truth.

  24. Hey and thank you for your comment!!!! You have blessed me this morning with your Prayer!!!! Take Care and God Bless Kenny T :-)

  25. Crying and following and going into your archives! I don’t have time to read them all but I don’t have “time” NOT to.

    • Hey and thank you for your comment!!!!! Get another cup of coffee and enjoy the stories… Take Care and God Bless Kenny T :-)

  26. Loved this story! Lord help us to take this beautiful story and turn it into reality in our lives. Hellp us to view the homeless and others in unfortunate situations just as Erik saw that man. But for You Lord, that could be us. Thanks for sharing this story! It’s a great reminder of how we should be.

  27. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I’m from Seattle, so I’m definitely more of a coffee drinker. Unless I’m sick, then I switch to tea. This is an amazing post, and a reminder that everyone began as a child, and life and our choices are what make us who we are as adults. Thank you for the reminder that children don’t see those choices in our eyes or on our face. Children just see people.

    • Hey Katherine, I have visited Oregon this time of the year and I remember that a good hot cup of coffee taste really good this time of the year; and of course a hot cheese danish should be on a plate right next to it!!! Thanks for the comment!! Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T

  28. excellent story. reminding us we should respond to the love and concern of others not to their external appearance

  29. Wonderful post…thanks for sharing it! There are opportunities to see God’s Love all around us but too often we are too busy “filtering” it through our humanity. God bless!

  30. Kenny T, this is a beautiful story and reminded me of something that happened many years ago. My brother, who was a baby at the time, was having a similar interaction with a man who had the smell of booze about him. My brother’s innocence, like the baby you wrote of who saw no sin, was judgment free about this man.

    Thanks for reminding us to look at the soul of a person and not at the clothes they wear.

  31. This is love at its best. The story could put me to shame with the judging I do at times. **forgiveness**

  32. what a heart touching story, thank you so much for sharing and reminding me to keep the blinders off.

  33. That was so good! Bless you for sharing! where do you find these jewels? Keep it up!

    • Hey Karen, I find these stories out on the internet or get them from friends….. Sometimes I have trouble finding the author, so if you read a story and know who the writer is, please let me know so I can give rightful credit. Thanks for the comment, Take Care and God Bless Kenny T :-)

  34. Liz Alexander said:

    Reblogged this on The Written Nerd and commented:
    This story reduced me to tears. So sweet, the innocence of a child..

    • Thank you so much for your comment and it is always an honor to be re-blogged!!!! Take Care and God Bless Kenny T :-)

  35. Liz Alexander said:

    Dang nab it, you just had to go and make me cry!

    What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  36. Not to sound uneducated…but I loved the cartoon. :)

  37. Wow. Amazing. Speechless.

    Please Lord give us all child like faith so we can truly be the light in the darkness, and the salt of the earth. In Jesus name, Amen

    Thank You

  38. I think you just met Father Christmas on an off day. Nice blog, seriously well written.

  39. This one is just beautiful. And it is just the way a baby in a manger greets all of us; wide eyes, fists flailing, ‘come close, pick me up.’ Thanks…

  40. Beautiful, Kenny T! Three smoothies and nice hot tea! :)

  41. God bless you kenny. Great blog, my man. Keep it up. :)

  42. These stories are amazing, where do you get to read these? Its awesome. Your’s is one blog I never miss to read.

    • Hey John, As long as the Good Lord continues to put these stories in front of me I will Post them on the Morning Story and Dilbert. It amazes me to see the impact of the stories. These stories deeply touch my heart and stir emotions that are sometimes hard to express. I call the Stories “Dilbert Material”. LOL Take Care my Friend and God Bless :-) Kenny T <

      • What a moving story—great message for me. I fail to see people as God sees them too often.
        Thanks for sharing it.

        Note: This story was published in a devotional called “No Compromise” by Jim Burns, Ph. D. [2002], and is published by Regal Books, a division of Gospel Light Publishers.

    • Scott (aka Table97) said:

      Really appreciate you sharing these stories! They are great…and you are right – perfect with that morning coffee.

      • morningstoryanddilbert said:

        I’m getting ready to have a cup of work coffee right now!!!! Enjoy your day and God Bless :-) Kenny T

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