A few days ago, our neighbors lost their precious dog, Nikki, to kidney failure. The loss was profound to all of the dog owners on our street - she was a beautiful, obedient, majestic black poodle - because we knew how deeply her "parents" must be grieving for their constant companion.
I was raised with deep Southern roots and was further influenced by growing up in the Baptist denomination. In short... I knew only one way to express our family's condolences...
So, Drew and I set to work the other night baking chocolate chip cookies to deliver to our neighbors. As we were stirring the batter, I tried to offer a simple explanation of my intentions.
"We're making these cookies for Nikki's family. They're very sad because their dog died, and we want to help them feel better."
He paused for a few moments and began licking the sticky leftover batter from the spoon. "Mom," he finally replied, "Don't you think it would make them feel EVEN BETTER if we just got them a new black dog?"
I couldn't deny him his sound 4-yr-old logic, however I explained that they probably wanted to wait a little while before replacing their pet.
Yesterday afternoon, we wrapped a plate, signed a card, and set off down the street. Halfway to our destination, my son stopped and turned to me. "I want to do this myself," he said. "You stay right here, Mommy. I'll bring them the cookies."
After a few moments of negotiation (I refused to stay completely out of sight but promised to stay on the sidewalk while he went to the door) and instruction (I needed to know exactly what he planned to say to whoever opened the door), I watched my little man cautiously walk up the path with the cookies.
He balanced the goodies precariously in one hand as his other hand reached high towards the doorbell. Several seconds later the door opened, and a short exchange followed. I didn't hear what Drew said to her, but based on her response, he got the message across just fine. She asked him for a hug, and to my surprise, he willingly obliged.
She and I spoke briefly as my son walked back down the path toward me. We offered our condolences again and turned toward home.
I cannot begin to imagine what on earth possessed my son to step SO FAR outside his character and deliver this sympathetic gesture to neighbors he doesn't even know well - ALL BY HIMSELF.
Perhaps nothing earthly can explain his actions. Instead, I'm believing that it could be something heavenly. I can only hope that God is planting in my little man the desire to be bold and courageous and soft-hearted toward those who are hurting.
That's my prayer anyway... oh, and that all the leftover chocolate chip cookie batter and crumbs I consumed during preparation were miraculously calorie-free!