Years ago, when I was a pastor in Coventry CT, my home was across the street from Coventry Lake. Many days during the summer months I would go swimming with the children in the neighborhood. The routine was that after lunch a number of them would gather by my front door to see if I would be going for a swim. The rule was, if I went, they could go too, because as an adult, I could supervise and watch them. I went through more popsicles those days than you can imagine.
One morning on my way to the church office I noticed Timmy, the little boy who lived across the street sitting on the front step with his head in is hand. The weight of the world was truly on his shoulders. By the way, he was one of my “regular swimmers,” so over time I got to know him. I walked over and asked him what was wrong.
“Well,” he sighed, “I got up early this morning and thought I would make my own breakfast while my mom was sleeping in. Only, when I reached to get the jelly to put on my toast, it slipped out of my hands and went crashing on the floor. My mom heard the crash and came running. She noticed that not only was there jelly and glass all over the floor, but it made a make and a stain on the new linoleum floor.” (I can’t begin to try to spell how an 8 year old pronounces linoleum, but it was truly original.) “Then she said, ‘Just wait ’till your father gets home!”
Timmy sat there all morning, on the front stoop waiting for doom. His life was one big storm. I came home at noon to find him still sitting on the stoop. The storm hadn’t passed. I came by with a Popsicle, a valued red one, and invited him to go for a swim. He said no thanks to both as the doom of the evening approached.
As 5PM approached, I decided I would try to stop and talk to Bob, Timmy’s father, before he drove down the road where we all lived. So I walked to the end of the street and was able to call to him just before he drove in. I told him what happened, but spent more time telling him that Timmy had sat all day on the front stoop, a poor penitent soul, awaiting his punishment. I could see Bob was touched.
I can’t tell you exactly what happened after that. I don’t even know what was said. But I can tell you what I saw about a half hour later – Timmy and his dad, walking down the street eating ice cream cones while holding hands.
They both weathered the storm and it appeared for a second that they might even be walking on water.