Friday, 27 November 2015
Jonah went to school with a pocket full of 'important stuff' this morning. Those of you with little boys will know that this oh so vital 'stuff' consists of elastic bands, fossils, cool looking stones, marbles, football cards and even occasionally dried out worms. It is always in their pockets (and now in my pockets and bag too) and they love to impress their friends with it.
I love this about little boys. His 'stuff' now spreads across his bedroom in various little pots and bags. All important but none of it looks like much to our untrained eye.
Cycling to school this morning (whilst I was half running behind him), he spotted yet another item for pocket-filling.
A dirty, almost squished ball-bearing.
I hadn't even seen it but as we crossed a busy road, he wanted to stop and pick it up.
'Mum! Stop!' He shouted at me.
'We can't stop here, it's too busy.' I shouted back (I wasn't cross, honest, the traffic was loud.)
'But there's something really special down there, didn't you see it?'
'No, I was actually concentrating on crossing the road.'
But it was important to him. So important that he couldn't simply leave it there. He excitedly talked of the treasure all the way to school and, using his incredible powers of negotiation, persuaded me to collect it on my way home, giving me detailed instructions.
'I don't think it was dog poo, mum, but touch it before you pick it up. If it's squishy, then it's dog poo so don't pick it up.'
As if I I would.
I hoped against hope that I wouldn't be able to find this treasure as I walked home again but sure enough, there it lay on the side of the road, covered in gunk and oil. It was barely glistening. The roads were busy and I tried to look normal as I picked up this tiny treasure from the gutter and quickly deposited it into my pocket before anyone called the police on this weirdo mother.
Jonah thought about this treasure all day, wondering if I had found it. And when he arrived home he took time to clean and polish it.
And I realised something as I looked at this dirty treasure from the gutter. There is a boy who stopped in the middle of the road and, had I not been there, would have got down onto his hands and knees into the dirt to pick up this precious item that others hadn't even noticed. He would have covered himself in the oil and grit from the road, just to hold it in his hands. It didn't matter that it was filthy. He saw past the grime and saw what was underneath - a bright, strong, shining ball-bearing. It had purpose. It wasn't meant to be left on the side of the road.
We need to stop for each other. We all have grime. We all make mistakes, shout at our kids (who, me?!), get relationships wrong, judge others wrongly, speak untruths and idolise other things instead of God. We need to look behind the dirt and call out the best in each other.
Just like Jonah (and most other eight year old boys) saw the slimy ball-bearing as a treasure, so we need to see the treasures in each other. Let's not leave each other on the side of the road to rot away. Let's encourage each other and 'polish' each other so that we can be the best we were meant to be.
Let's fill our friendship pockets with encouragements, faithful friendship, seeing the best in each other and treasuring our relationships with one another.