Susie Taylor didn't like the looks of the city rescue mission. Even during the day, it still gave her the shivers as she dodged the craters in the parking lot. But, she cared enough to drop off old clothes and appliances no longer useful in her house.
As she backed her hatch into the loading zone, she kept a keen eye on the two who were prepared to take her offerings. One was a black man with a wide toothless grin wearing a winter cap, even though it was sunny and seventy degrees. The other man had a red round face and white cotton hair. Together, they unloaded her wares, and thanked Susie. She never got out of the car, but politely let her driver window down and offered the men a few bucks tip. They eagerly took the money, but then, the white man stooped to her window. "Ma'am, I need work. Do you know where they can use an old clown to do some tricks at parties and such? I've been sober now for a few months."
Susie eased her window up and nervously nodded.
A whirl of thoughts stirred through her mind as she left that day. Was God telling her to let the man have a chance? In a few weeks, her daughter would have a birthday party. She wanted to make it special, but she and her husband Dale didn't know what to do.
Finally, the special day for her daughter came. Natalie turned six years old, and all of her Sunday school friends were there, along with her best friends from grade school.
They all looked out the picture window with sunflower faces as the yellow taxi pulled up and they could see Rusty the clown stepping out with his monstrous padded feet. The girls all squealed with delight as he approached the door, honking his horn.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Natalie shrieked, as Susie opened the door and the girls all tried to hide behind her apron. They all had a severe case of the giggles.
Rusty, stooped and bowed, pulling off his hat. On his head was a bouquet of flowers. He handed the flowers to Susie but they soon wilted. He tried pretending to water them back to life, but missed the flowers and sprayed Susie's face. The kids ran for cover. Rusty tripped inside the house, pretending to chase them around the furniture, where all the decorations were, including the cake on the table.
The kid's became terrified of him. He stopped his antics under the scrutiny of Susie, and decided to ask if the kid's would like to see him do a few tricks. He shaped balloons into dog poodles, but the kids soon grew long faces. Then, he had an idea. He looked at the double-layered ice cream cake, and thought, he could really impress them. He intended to pull the tablecloth from under the cake.
As he reached for the tablecloth, Susie started screaming, "No! No!"
But it was too late. The table shook and the cake collapsed to the floor.
Dale, her husband came from the living room to the rescue. He promptly pulled enough bills from his wallet, and together they shoved poor Rusty out the door, promising to call him a cab.
For some reason, the cab was running late, and before long, the kid's were watching the failed clown sitting on the sidewalk with his head between his knees. It was growing increasingly difficult for anyone to have a good time, while Rusty, the clown looked so sad.
Tears streamed down Susie's face. She told her husband, "If we believe in true redemption, under the blood of Jesus, then I'm ashamed of myself, and this is no lesson for the kids."
In one big group, the family and Natalie's friends walked outside to the curb. Natalie offered him a piece of cake, from the part they managed to salvage. Rusty looked up at them with real tears that made his colored face look like a bleeding rainbow.
Then, he reached deep inside his jacket, and no one knew how he did it. He pulled out a live, cuddly rabbit! Natalie screamed with joy as he handed it to her.
By the end of the day, Rusty redeemed himself but most importantly, he found that God had given him a family who loved him, even without the tricks.
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