Victoria Busnan, who recently started attending services, sent a little story by Julie Manham, which she called An Afternoon in the Park.
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root bear and he started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted.
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few step, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him the biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, ‘What did you do today that made you so happy?’
He replied, ‘I had lunch with God.’ But before his mother could respond, he added, ‘You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!’
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, ‘Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?’
She replied, ‘I ate Twinkies in the park with God.’ But before her son responded, she added, ‘You know, he’s much younger than I expected.
I thought you might enjoy this little story. It reminds me of the Jewish theologian Martin Buber’s assertion: “From moment to moment, from day to day, we search the eyes of others for that certain Yes.” The world has gotten complicated lately, so it’s good to be reminded of the simple things.
Carlyn likes to ask me about my life in the 1940’s, when I was her age, before television, before computers and the internet. I love to sit with her, the way the boy and the old woman sat together on that park bench, and tell her how it was ‘way back then.’ One memory brings another. They are strung together without a neat chronology. She asks about each of my brothers and sisters, and I notice her smile and cherish her laughter as I exaggerate some detail.
It’s Spring. I hope you’ll take time to notice flowers and faces and get lost in memory.