Tonight at church I got a very cool picture for a story. This is as much for me to hear as it is to tell, so let me first emphasize how grateful I am for it. Please do not see this as condemning or aimed at anyone in particular, for if it is, it is most certainly for me.
Billy whizzes into the kitchen. His school bag is thrown onto the freshly mopped floor as he sits down to take off his muddy shoes.
“Woooh tiger, what have I told you about taking those off in the kitchen?” his mum exclaims.
“Sorry Mummy” he replies without even looking at her. Billy hasn’t slowed down at all; his excitement to finish is palpable.
Samantha was anticipating this and has come up with a plan. “Billy, Oliver and his mum are going into town today. I thought it would be nice if we joined them and had a McDonalds tonight.”
This got Billy’s attention and he looked at his mum. His face was downcast and simply read do we have to, which he promptly verbalised.
“I thought Oliver was your best friend.” Samantha said. Even before the words left her lips though, she knew her plan had failed.
A brief silence fell as Billy stopped what he was doing. Then he folded his arms, took one last look at his mother and stomped up to his room. He slammed the door with all his strength, which fortunately was not actually very much.
Samantha sat down and sighed, “Jesus, give me strength!” She was feeling very tired and despite trying all day to come up with a way to get her son out of the house, the boy had once again refused.
For the past three weeks, every school night had been the same; Billy would run in and without a word he would go up to his room. There he would play with “his invisible friend” until he was called down for tea. There would then be just enough time to go through any homework before he went to bed.
Oliver’s mum hadn’t actually been planning on going to town, but she had agreed to help Samantha with this problem in whatever way she could. Both of them had agreed it wasn’t natural, and that it would do Billy good to see other boys his own age after school. He got on really well with Oliver and they would probably both enjoy a few play-dates.
Samantha began to head upstairs, as she knew she had to. She’d face the tantrum sooner or later and it was better to get it over with now.
“Can I come in?” she said quietly. No response. She pressed on and entered.
The boy was sat on his bed, hugging Pooh bear very tightly. His back was turned to her and he didn’t react to the door opening.
“Billy, I’m sorry for what I said earlier, I thought Oliver was your best friend.”
He shook his head, still not looking at her.
“Who is your best friend then sweetie?” Samantha said.
That Samantha hadn’t expected. Emotions threatened to overwhelm her. She clutched her crucifix and summoned up the courage to say, ”Do you think Jesus would like to come with us to McDonalds?”
Billy turned round and looked at his mum quizzically. “Let’s ask him.”
Without any hesitation, awkwardness or irony, Billy put his hands together, closed his eyes and prayed, “Dear Jesus, would you like to go to McDonalds with me and Oliver and our mummies? Amen.”
Billy kept his eyes shut a little while longer as he waited for the reply.
“Yes, He’d like to meet Oliver” he said smiling. With that he ran downstairs to the kitchen to get ready again, just as excited as he had been on coming in.
Samantha wiped her eyes and smiled. “Thank You” she said, and left feeling both humbled and blessed.