“Hi honey, how was school today?” I asked my thirteen year old son, Scott.
“Fine,” he said. He didn’t look fine.
“What happened? You look upset.”
His lower lip quivered, his brown eyes darted around the room before settling on my face. “Well, you know that boy Ernie I told you about?”
“Yeah, he’s the one that some of the kids pick on, right?”
“Right. Well, today after sixth period, someone bumped into him in the hall and he fell and his books flew all over the place.” He swallowed deeply before going on. “Well, he was just sitting there on the floor, screaming. Some kids were laughing at him, and when Jimmy tried to help him, Ernie pushed him away and kept on screaming.”
Scott’s small hand fingered the strap of his backpack. “I wanted to help him, but I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe that Greg was one of the ones teasing him.” He shook his head. “I feel terrible that I didn’t do anything.”
“Did you pray for him?”
“Yes, all the way home. I feel so sorry for him. I don’t get how people who have everything going for them can be so mean to someone who’s not as lucky as them.”
The phone rang and he went answer it. “Who was it?” I asked when he walked back into the kitchen.
“It was Dennis, he wanted to come over and play wiffle ball, but I told him I don’t feel like it.”
I nodded. “Scott, I know you’re upset about what happened today, but don’t beat yourself up. You and Tommy are always nice to him, right?”
“Well, I’m sure that makes a big difference in his life, even more than you know.”
He shrugged, “Maybe.”
“Just keep on praying.”
“I will Mom,” He said, before going to his room to play his favorite baseball video game.
That evening Scott’s recreational soccer team lost the championship game, by one goal, in overtime.
I went into his room to say goodnight and my heart fell at the sadness in his eyes. “You upset about the game?” I asked, knowing it wasn’t the loss that was troubling him.
He shrugged, “Not really.” Tears pooled on his lower lids and his voice broke as he tried not to cry. “It just rips me apart that I didn’t do anything to help Ernie today. I can still see him sitting on the floor, screaming.”
“I know, honey. Just keep praying. God will let you know what you can do for Ernie.” I kissed him goodnight. “I love you,”
I was almost out the door when he said, “Don’t forget I’m going to be late tomorrow. They’re having the Turkey shoot at school tomorrow.”
“They’re going to shoot turkeys at school tomorrow?”
He grinned up at me and shook his head, “No, Mom, it’s a basketball game between the school team and the teachers. Remember you gave me money for it a few weeks ago?”
“Oh, yeah, I do remember. The money they raised is going to the food kitchen, right? ” I leaned down and kissed the wispy blond bangs covering his forehead. “Thanks for reminding me. Goodnight.”
As I left his room, I prayed, “Lord, please be with Ernie and give him your peace. And those kids that picked on him; please help them to see the light. And thank you for that amazing young boy you blessed me with.”
The next afternoon, a different boy came charging through my kitchen door.
“Hi Scott, how’d it go today?”
He smiled brightly, “Great! Me and Tommy asked Ernie to sit with us at the Turkey Shoot.”
“Yeah, and nobody picked on him today, either.”
He glanced out the window. “Oh, is it okay if the guys come over to play wiffle ball?”
Lord, thank you; it’s amazing the difference a heart freed from its guilt can make, I prayed, listening to Scott’s feet pound up the steps as he raced to his room to get changed.
I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
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