Oh, no… OH, NOOOOO! I lost my earring! Screamed my suddenly fully awake Sleeping Beauty as she checked her ears and the rest of her body for the missing accessory to her Halloween costume. It was dark. It was late. There was no way we could retrace our steps and find it. I quickly jumped on my always ready pulpit, and started preaching my favorite I-told-you-so sermon while screams and wailings utterly unrelated to the season-appropriate ghosts and goblins pierced the darkness around us.
If you don’t stop right now, we are done with trick-or-treating and we are going home right now! I comforted my distraught daughter, scanning the surrounding for the lost object, just in case. The fun of the evening was over and we trotted back – a conflicted Mother, a forlorn damsel in distress and her frustrated brother for whom the night was still young and whose feverish brain was hoping to increase the sweet loot by canvassing our own street, which in the past had produced a greater harvest of candy than the rest of the neighborhood combined.
After I dropped the kids off, leaving the emotional clean-up to my husband, I grabbed a flashlight and in hope against hope went back, in search for the gaudy piece of junk.
Aaah, the things we do for our children… I muttered. But, this may be a good lesson… maybe she can finally learn to listen to me when I tell her something… or a lesson about safekeeping… or, even a lesson about the joy of finding something that was lost! Aaaah - THAT would be a good lesson… now, if only God would help me find the darn thing...
I slowly followed the beam of light from the flashlight, back and forth, back and forth… All the trick-or-treaters were gone, probably joining in the communal overdosing on sugar that night. After a while, I finally gave up and returned home.
It was very late. We quickly put the pajamas on and brushed our teeth, and I was just about to send the kids to bed with a quick prayer when a sweet, soft voice pleaded,
May I have a bedtime story? From the Bible?
I shook my head, too tired for a bedtime story. The emotional roller-coaster of the evening has taken its toll.
Alright, I agreed. Go and pick a story.
A SHORT one! I added.
She got her Bible and started flipping through the pages until she found the chapter titled, The Saddest Day.
That’s a very good choice of reading, hon. When we are sad, this is a good story to remember.
I know, Mom. This is why I picked it. I was very sad. And you were sad because I was sad.
I looked up surprised at her reading of my reaction that night. I certainly wouldn’t have given myself The Most Compassionate Parent of the Year award.
And God was sad THAT day. He understands sadness better than anyone else.
She leaned into me as we read the familiar story of betrayal, rejection and ultimate loss. I closed the book and looked into her eyes.
You feel better now?
She nodded her head. We wrapped the evening up in a prayer and crawled into beds.
You were right about a lesson there, you know…
No, I wasn’t right – I was WRONG!
Well, yes, of course - you were wrong about the KIND of lesson. But there was a lesson there… and I AM teaching My Daughter and your daughter about finding strength and comfort in My Word… and My Presence. And that lesson, as you know, My dear child, is better than making her fleetingly happy by giving her back the pretty pink plastic she thinks she so desperately needs…