Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SMEAR (03/10/16)
- TITLE: Rising Above
By Donna Powers
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The triumphant Easter hymns still echoed in my ears as I walked down the hall to the children’s’ church room, and I felt true joy in my Spirit.
I just love Easter services. I confess I usually enjoy getting dressed up as much as I enjoy the sermon, but this year I’d also really connected to the message.
As I reached the children’s room, I could hear Miss Kathy, the leader. It sounded like she was finishing a prayer. I smiled and practiced a little Easter-inspired patience. It would take more than a few minutes’ delay to knock the Easter joy out of my heart today. I hummed the final hymn as I mentally composed an errand list for our drive home: milk and juice at the convenience store, drop the electric bill in the mailbox at the post office…
“Amen,” said Miss Kathy.
The chairs started scraping, and the Primary class noisily started preparing to leave. The door burst open and the class streamed out. Each child looked as happy and excited as I felt. Miss Kathy must have conveyed the Easter story in a way that inspired the kids as much as the sermon had inspired me.
My Kaley was the fourth student through the door and her smile was wide. I half-listened to her excited babbling as we walked to the car. Once we were seated, she pushed a cardboard resurrection scene toward me, from the back seat. “Look, Mom!” she shouted. “The rock moves over and the place where Jesus was buried is empty! That’s ‘cause He rose from the dead! See?”
I saw the little cutout and I saw her enthusiasm for her excitement about Jesus’ resurrection.
But I also saw a little comma-shaped smudge of chocolate on her white, lacy collar.
“Kaley!” I chided her.
She was truly puzzled. “What?”
“You stained your dress!”
She pulled her attention from the cardboard cutout and looked briefly for the offending stain. “Where?” she asked.
“It’s on your collar. Honestly, Kaley. We talked about this. I told you that dress was special and needed to be kept clean. And you promised!”
She sighed. “Sorry, Mommy.” She dropped the cutout as she stared at the stain. “We got a chocolate egg in children’s church, and I forgot to be careful when I ate it. I know I wasn’t careful, like you asked me to be.”
“Oh, Kaley,” Now I was the one to sigh. My Easter joy had disappeared, after all. “Never mind. I’ll take it to the cleaners tomorrow. Let’s go. We have make a few stops before we go home for lunch.”
Our ride home was silent. Kaley wasn’t a bad girl; she just hadn’t learned to be careful with delicate clothes. While I was definitely a lover of pink and “girly” clothes, Kaley was a blue jeans and tee shirt girl for sure. Every time I did her laundry, I threw in some stain guard and hoped for the best.
So why had I bought her a frilly, dry-clean-only dress for Easter?
Because that’s the kind of girl I am. The kind of girl I fervently hoped Kaley would turn out to be. I remember when we’d shopped for this dress; seeing Kaley longingly eyeing pant suits and less frilly dresses while listlessly trying on and buying the dress I selected.
I suddenly realized what I had to do. Slowly, I pulled the car over to the curb. As Kaley watched, in interest, I pulled a lipstick out of my purse. Cringing internally, I brushed the bright pink surface of the lipstick over the collar of my pristeen white blouse.”
“Mommy!” she breathed.
“Yes, Kaley. I stained my blouse. I wanted to show you I understand. It’s true your dress was stained, but I made too big a deal out of it. I’m so glad you are the way you are. Please tell me the rest of the children’s church story.”
Her face lit up again and she grabbed the cutout. As she retold the familiar story of the day Jesus rose, I realized I also need to rise: to rise above my expectations for Kaley, and celebrate the person she is.
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