This is a memory from some years ago.
I was doing a little bit of laundry in the morning before anyone else got up. I couldn’t sleep and knew I needed some blue jeans for the day. As I was putting some of my things to wash, I grabbed a few pair of pants belonging to the kids. I learned long ago that many things go in pants pockets that don’t necessarily need to go in a washing machine. As I cleaned out the pockets of Olivia’s shorts, I found three individually wrapped Life Savers that she had taken from the candy bowl in my office.
My colleagues and I keep hard candy of various sorts on our desks at work. It’s there free for students or any other guests who come to the office. Most ask before taking a piece. Some don’t, realizing it’s there for them. My regulars, such as other faculty members or students who have taken a number of classes with me, will with ease lift a piece or two out of the bowl and crunch away as we talk, never hesitating to enjoy what has been freely provided for them. The candy is clearly out there for the taking as a gesture of hospitality.
My children have a different relationship with my candy bowl. I try to monitor their sugar intake because too much sugar is just not healthy. Also, if we’re passing through the office on the way to lunch or something, I don’t want them filling up on empty calories. So, they’ve learned to ask before taking candy from the bowl. But even though they have to ask, there is yet a different relationship that they have with the candy because of the relationship they have with me. That’s Daddy’s candy. And if it’s Daddy’s, then it’s potentially theirs in a different kind of way than it is for anyone else.
Here’s how the candy bowl rules developed. Early on they learned only one piece at a time was all I would allow them. Our exchange would go something like this.
“May I have some candy?”
“Yes, but only one.”
“Please…” and the pleading for additional sugar to rot their teeth would begin. Eventually, they figured out a subtler tactic.
“Could I have one now and one for my pocket?”
I relented to this request. It became the pattern. They could have one now and one for their pocket, which sometimes turned out to be as many ones as their little pockets could hold. This is how the three pieces ended up in Olivia’s pocket.
I’ve said before I’ve learned more about God since I became a parent than in the years before. Here, too, I see my Heavenly Father. Several things come to mind.
If it’s His, it’s mine. But I do need to ask. He knows better what and when and how I need His blessings, but still I often have not because I ask not.
Second, I don’t have to take just one blessing from the bowl. I can take one, or many, for my pocket. For example, if it’s wisdom I need, James tells me God gives liberally. In fact, in many areas of our Christian walk God has a pocket full of blessings, but we fail to stuff our pockets.
Third, we need to check our spiritual pockets more often. As I said, I found three hard mints in Olivia’s pockets that morning. They were blessing from her Dad’s candy bowl, waiting to be eaten and enjoyed. But she had stuffed them in her little pocket and gone on with her day, forgetting about them at some point. Eventually they ended up in the laundry and in this little blurb.
I looked through my pockets that morning and discovered they were full and running over also. I counted so many wonderful blessings, including two precious kids who were still asleep just down the hall. That’s two pieces of candy right there. I have a Christian heritage of parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents who poured themselves into me. I have a pastor and several mentors in the faith, including some who have now passed to their reward, who also have given of themselves for my spiritual sweet tooth. That’s a pocket full!! And the list could go on of friends and family and colleagues and sunshine and flowers and…. and of the Holy Spirit that will lead me and comfort me and assure me that all of the candy in the bowl is for me, and I have permission to take some for my pocket. I just need to remember to fill my pockets more often and enjoy the blessings He has so richly and freely provided.
Now if I could only find something spiritual about the dehydrated earthworm I found in Nick’s pocket.
Well, enjoy your day and check your pockets. You never know what goodies from God you’ve stuck there and forgotten about.