Five-year-old Danny sees a commercial about a carnival in his town.
“Can we go to the carnival, daddy, can we?” he asks his single father, Tom. Tom's head is buried under a pile of paperwork.
“Sure, Danny. Sure. We can go. But not now. I’ve got to get this work done before tomorrow.”
That night, while Tom tucks Danny into bed, Danny says, “Tell me about the carnival, daddy. Is it fun? Does it have clowns?”
“It might have clowns, Danny. But a carnival is like fun on wheels. It has a ride called the carousel that goes around and around with make-believe horses that go up and down. Oh, and the best part of a carnival is eating cotton candy.”
“Cotton candy is fluffy, kind of like the stuffing in your teddy bear, only it’s pink or blue and sweet. And when you put it in your mouth, it melts. It’s the greatest thing to eat. Now let’s say our prayers, and you go to sleep.”
After they say their prayers, Tom says good night and leaves the room. Soon, Danny drifts off to sleep with visions of spinning horses and candy that tastes like his teddy bear. When he awakes the next day, he asks his father if they are going to the carnival.
“We’ll go, soon, champ. I promise. I have a lot of work to do, so I’ll let you know.”
Every morning, for a week, Danny pressed his dad to take him to the carnival. And every morning his father reminded him of how much work he had to do. Yet, Danny clung to his father’s promises that someday they would go. Every night he dreamed of magical horses and colorful teddy bears made of sweet stuffing. Then one night, Danny mounted one of those horses while holding onto his bear. He smiled and waved to no one there before he and his bear rode off into the sky...never to return.
The next morning, Tom entered Danny’s room to help him out of bed and place him into his wheelchair. Immediately, he knew something was wrong. There was no, “Good morning, daddy,” or Danny’s question of the day, “Are we going to the carnival?”
The disease that plagued Danny, since he was born, finally took its toll...and Tom wept. He whispered, “I’m sorry, Danny, for not taking you to the carnival. But where you went is far better than anything this world has to offer. I’m glad you’re with Jesus because He is sweeter than all the cotton candy I could promise you, and you’ll be able to ride His carousel of horses forever. I love you, champ.”
Each of us face demands that compete for our time and attention, and sometimes we fail to recognize their insignificance to more important concerns. Nothing in life is more important than caring for those who need us the most. So help us, God, to realize the value of every relationship, the worth of every soul and what precious little time we have to be a true expression of your unconditional love.
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