Freckles is a stranger to me, she’s a mystery. For all I know she could have been an angel. I think she must have been no more than 7 or 8 years old. Whatever she was, or where ever she came from, her little face is burnt into my mind forever. I don’t know a whole lot about this little girl, who I call, for a lack of knowing, Freckles. I do know, however, that she was full of fire and passion.
I can’t help but wonder about the kind of home she came from. Was she from a broken family whose mother was selling herself to make ends meat and whose father was in prison for selling drugs? Was she an orphan, the daughter of a minister, the cherished child of the local grocery store owner, or the princess of the city street sweeper; I don’t know.
Regardless of what kind of family or back ground she had, all I seen in her face was pure love. She seemed to beam with light. Long red pony tails, light brown freckles that covered her milky white face like a constellation, and a perfectly round button nose. She wore light blue overalls with a patch on the left knee, and little pink sneakers. And oh, that smile, it could melt the hardest heart even if it was for a moment. When she broke out those big white teeth that were almost too big for her mouth a joy seemed to burst out like an overflowing damn bursts under the pressure of thousands of tons of water, and it was contagious. I think that Hitler would have cracked a smile coming to the intersection of Adolf and Freckles. I know that for a moment my granite-hard heart cracked from the joy she forced on me.
Freckles was an intersection placed in my life, a fork in the road strategically planted by God. She was a carrier with a message from God. God knew that at this time in my life I would not hear the gospel from anyone else. He knew my heart and the anger and hate that lived there. He took the message of His great love and placed it in a beautiful, fragile, passionate, and trusting container. So small and fragile, I knew that I could break her like a glass ornament, but I couldn’t.
That smile was stronger than I was. The joy that flowed from her paralyzed me long enough for her to tell give me the message. “Jesus loves you and I do to.”
I was not new to the Gospel, just running from it. Then here listening to her and looking into her face it was as though the servant was confessing his appreciation to his master before being executed, or little Jack looking in the eyes of the giant, who is about to squeeze the life from his body, and telling him that he forgives him, or the rabbit staring into the face of the raving wolf who has just pounced him, and telling him that he’s loved. She confused me. I was evil, I was the hunter, the boogie man, the one that innocence should fear. Yet here she was facing Fear in the face and smiling, letting loose the sun.
She could not have really loved me, but those words carried the power of God. I couldn’t help but to break. I looked at her wanting to explode on her for cornering me like this, but instead I stood paralyzed, gritting my teeth, and squeezing my fists as hard as I could, nearly drawing blood. The truth and conviction were killing me.
In that moment I realized that she was all that I really wanted to be; innocent, passionate, loved, full of Childs faith, un-afraid, and righteous. She was still un-wounded, her heart was full of love, and joy, she was still able to trust people.
She then told me that I should love Jesus. Then she skipped off with her little friends across the street. I couldn’t move. I told my friends to go on and leave me there.
I felt my heart pounding, sweat beaded up on my head and ran down my face. I sat down on the curb and just concentrated on breathing. There was a war going on inside. On one side the monster I had allowed to keep me bound so long was fighting to stay in control, on the other side the joy that she hit me with was fighting to get into my heart.
Then like a volcano erupting, I fell over onto my side and cried. I didn’t care who walked by, or who was watching me. I felt joy for the first time and I didn’t deserve it. I cried because God was unfair, giving me an amazing gift when I deserved punishment. I cried because I wanted someone to punish me for all the evil and instead I felt joy unspeakable and full of glory. I cried because as that little mystery stood in front of me face to face, David killed Goliath and I was happy. I cried because love slayed me with a tender face. I cried because my heart was breaking. I cried like a baby because His joy became mine.
Being reborn was painful and beautiful. As my flesh and the evil that I sold myself to lay there on the hot concrete dieing, I looked up slightly just to watch my mysterious angel, Freckles, skip away into the horizon.
I now have joy; joy to give, live, love, and force on those who, like my old man, are bound to darkness. Joy unspeakable and full of Glory.
Read more articles by Samuel Connelly or search for articles on the same topic or others.