[MOL] From Chris - from Helen @ BCH [00985] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] From Chris - from Helen @ BCH



 

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Baby Erik and the Old Man

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a
high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly,
Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi there." He pounded his fat baby hands
on the highchair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement and his mouth was
bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked
around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag
of a coat; dirty, greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at
half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and
his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called
a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too
far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and
flapped on loose wrists. "Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya,
buster," the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we
do?" Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi, hi there." Everyone in the
restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was
creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began
shouting from across the room, "Do ya know patty cake? Do you know
peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo."
Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and
I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running
through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn,
reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and
headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet
him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door.
"Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed. As
I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid
any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching
with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before I could stop him,
Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly a very old
smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik
in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the
man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath
his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor gently, so
gently, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have
ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck.
The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment, and then his
eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice,
"You take care of this baby." Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat
that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest -- unwillingly,
longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said,
"God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift." I said nothing
more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My
husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why
I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." I had just witnessed Christ's
love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no
judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I
was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was
God asking -- "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" -- when He
shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded
me, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children." If
this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on.


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