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
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
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
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
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
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.