Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FORGET (10/17/19)
TITLE: Gifts Sweet and Tender
By Marilyn Borga
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I had climbed onto my mom's lap to tell her about my day at school. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "Will you save a piece for me?" She hugged me before nudging me off onto the floor so she could start on our dinner, but her eyes reflected my excitement. I gave her my solemn promise.
It was the spring of 1957 and treats at school were a very rare. I went to bed that night dreaming of the sweetness to come. The next day our class struggled through the round of state testing. Once the papers were turned in, Mrs. Orr handed each of her students the promised wax paper-wrapped candy stick. I carefully examined my prize in the few minutes before the dismissal bell rang. It was beautiful. Pink, yellow, and green stripes spiraled gracefully around the snow white cylinder. I ran a finger over the smooth velvety surface and sniffed at the faint fruity aroma.
Soon I was hopping onto the yellow school bus with my best friend, Susie. She started devouring her candy as soon as she was settled into our seat. It was probably a wise move; she had two younger brothers at home who would have loved to get their grubby fingers on it.
I watched Susie's obvious bliss. Yes, I had promised to share with my mom, but I could allow myself just one tiny taste. I carefully eased the stick from its protective package, broke off a small piece, and popped it into my mouth. Tutti-frutti flavors melded with sugary vanilla; a touch of banana, maybe a little cherry. I stopped trying to analyze, I just enjoyed. Once that first bite was sucked away I opened the wax paper once more. Just a lick or two…
There were lots of kids to drop off; it was a long, long ride before the bus finally rumbled to a stop at the end of our gravel lane. The door opened with a screech but I sat in my seat staring at the square of wax paper. One sticky pinkish glob the size of my little finger was all that remained of my treat. Too late I remembered my promise to my mom. I folded the paper over the remnant of candy, stepped off the bus, and trudged up the lane to the house. I hadn't forgotten, not totally; yet I knew that I had failed. With my head held low, I showed my mom the soggy paper and all that remained of her promised share.
When I finally had the courage to peek up at her, I was relieved to see the kind smile on her face. With a tiny chuckle, she assured me she wasn't very hungry. She would rather I finished it myself. "But, thank you, for remembering," she said. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that Mom hadn't really wanted nor needed part of my candy. She had only wanted to share in my joy.
Today I still make promises, fully intending to follow through. I'll read my Bible more, pray harder, visit that lonely shut-in; I'll be more generous. I'll set aside bitterness and anger and be quick to forgive. But the cares and trials of life intrude; the remembrance of those promises fade and I find I've failed once again. Still, in childlike faith, I offer my tattered, sticky mess to Jesus. Then I look up into his eyes, so like the eyes of my mother that day. Instead of condemnation, I find acceptance, forgiveness, and unconditional love. I lift my hand; he reaches out to grasp it and he doesn't let go.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
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