It’s okay Sparky. Jesus loves you.
The words and the memory flooded my brain in a flash. Funny how some thoughts distanced by decades suddenly return with such clarity; those moments being balanced by the other times, when after an interruption, I sit at my desk unable to recall what I was just working on.
Perhaps recently traveling back to Worms, NE (that’s another blog entirely); worshiping with my home congregation; seeing all those familiar faces triggered the remembrance. I recalled my mother’s voice relating the incident and the scenario went like this: My mother is visiting Joyce, a young mother from church. Their conversation is interrupted by the shout of her young son outside, followed by the high pitched squeal and yelping of a dog. Joyce scrambles to her feet racing to the front porch. This is followed by what my mom described as a stern scolding and reprimand. Back then they weren’t called “time outs”. It was more of, “Duane! What are you doing? Don’t talk young man. You know better. Stay right where you are. You think about what just happened. Do not move until I say so.”
Joyce returns to the kitchen, half exasperated, half laughing. “How on earth can a 5 year old get a jumper cable attached to a dog’s ear? I didn’t think his hands were strong enough.” But that was what Duane had attempted to do. As coffee is poured my mother observes a young boy sitting on the front steps, his back to the screen door. With an arm draped around his dog (amazingly still willing to sit by his master’s side even after what had occurred) voicing those words, “It’s okay Sparky. Jesus loves you.”
Members of my family still repeat that phrase when something difficult happens. Strange, but we do. I shake my head and smile when I replay that story in my mind, but what I never fail to remember is that a young 5 year old on a summer afternoon would extend comforting words to his pet; even one he injured. It was obviously a phrase he had learned most probably from his Christian parents, but also perhaps grandparents or Sunday School teachers. It brought to mind Deuteronomy 6:6 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road; when you lie down and when you get up.”
Duane at 5 knew that Jesus loved and more importantly Jesus loved Him! How many times as an adult have I failed to grasp that simple statement? “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jer. 31:3. How many times have I failed to remind others of that all-encompassing love? No pain, no loss no separation will ever remove that love! Words from Proverbs 22:6 instruct us, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Joyce taught her son about Jesus, His love and forgiveness. Duane remembered and simply offered those words to his dog.
How good it is to encourage others that in spite of the darkness and hurt surround us we can pierce through shadows with our Savior’s light and it can be done simply with a touch, a word, a smile that says “It’s okay Sparky. Jesus loves you!”
Blessings as you share His love! Doneta