"The child who knows love has the greatest gift the world can offer." ~ Psalm 127:3
Morning had come too soon. “Running late for work, gotta run,” Malcom said, as he pecked his wife’s cheek, grabbed his lunch, and let the screen door slam behind him.
As he drove away, Laci ran down the stairs two at a time. “Wait, wait!” she yelled, but he’d already left. She watched the silhouette of his scrubs against the morning sun climbed into the car and hastily sped away.
Her mouth crumpled like used wrapping paper. “Daddy forgot to give me a goodbye kiss,” she whispered in a voice that trembled under the weight of her hurt. “I’m sorry sweetheart,” her Mom said trying to soften the blow. “Daddy can’t be late for work; he’s got an important job.”
“It’s okay,” Laci said, trying her best to be all grown up.
Jorge knew he’d forgotten something. Stethoscope, security badge, suckers for sick kids – check. And there it was ‘kids’ – he’d forgotten about his own kid. How could he? Guilt consumed him as thoughts of her sweet, angelic face flooded his heart.
On the school bus, Laci’s eyes glazed with a layer of tears. As she blinked, they dripped from her eyelids and slid down her cheeks. She bit her lip trying to hide any sound that wanted to escape from her mouth. She watched as other children shared secrets and giggled. Part of her wanted them to feel sad too.
Guilt gnawed from within Malcom’s chest. For Laci happiness was simple. It's playing ‘Let’s Pretend,’ cuddling with her kitty, or a funny bedtime story. She was always the first to pick up a friend who’d fallen; her heart bigger than the soccer ball she kicked around the backyard.
What he’d done couldn’t be undone. He could make amends later ... or do something now!
As the bus slowed to a stop in front of the school, Laci scrubbed the tears from her cheeks. She knew they would lead to sympathy, and sympathy would bring more waterworks.
Laci picked up her school bag and headed down the aisle; shoulders slumped and eyes cast in a mournful gaze. As she exited the bus, a familiar car glided to a stop directly in front of the bus. He got out of the car.
She ran to him bursting with liquid sunshine. As her grin got wider everyone near them began to smile.
“I’m so sorry I forgot’, he said, as he picked her up and kissed her affectionately. She said nothing. Her jaw ached from smiling.
But I don’t want you to be late for work, Laci said.
Fifteen years from now, Malcom said, “no one will remember that I was late for work. But you’ll never ever forget that I met you at school just to kiss you goodbye!”
Loving and compassionate Lord, please bless these young lives with what they need to find joy and justice and peace, so that this world and their world will be a better place for all of God’s children. Amen