Savior of Sandcastles

Once there was a young girl sitting on the shore of a vast ocean.  She was crying and looking out at the waves in despair.  There were forlorn piles of sand around her that looked as though they had melted, the remnants of dreams and efforts unrealized.

A man came along the beach and saw the tear-stained face of the girl.  He lifted the brim of her floppy beach hat to see her eyes and then said, “It’s hard to build a sandcastle in the surf, isn’t it?  She was surprised to see her own sadness reflected in the twin mirrors of his eyes. 

His empathy released her emotions like a flood dike had suddenly collapsed.  She had been sitting there for hours trying to build her dream sand castle. She showed him the plans sketched childishly on her notebook page.  She explained that each time she got a turret built, she would start on next one, only to have the surf come up and wash the turret away.  

“Don’t despair,” the man said, “I’ve built a lot of sandcastles, but never in the surf.”  He pulled out his phone and showed her the pictures of some of his best work.  She laughed in delight at the magnificent sand creations he had made.  “If you want your sand castle to last, you have to start with a good foundation.”

So they found a rocky spot nearby.  It was much more work to haul sand and water in buckets up to the rocks, but working together made it fun.  They mixed the sand and the water and built the castle turret by turret far away from the crashing waves.  When they were finished, the castle was much finer than the drawing had been.  The girl threw her arms around her new friend.  “Thank you for saving my sand castle.”  He replied, “That’s what I do.”

Being a Dandelion

Sometimes the pain is so intense that words just can’t describe.  Sometimes the yuck just keeps coming and tears and tissues won’t wash it away.  This kind of pain doesn’t yield to pills or clever maxims.  Prayers don’t make it go away.

Wesley came down from playing his Wii game to find me drowning in my tears. His face screwed up in anger and pain, he said, “I don’t want anybody hurting my mommy!!”  I hugged him and told him it would be okay.  I told him I had been reading about Jesus.  He went around doing good.  He healed people like me, forgotten, broken people that no one could help.  He can help me.  He will help me.

I know that he suffered in the garden.  He bled for me.  He cared for me enough to die for me.  He knows my burden and he feels my pain with me.  I can’t write what happened or the source of my pain.  I’ll just tell a story, like the Savior used to do.

Once upon a time there was a gardener who only liked roses.  One day in her garden, a dandelion grew.  She thought it was a rose until one day it bloomed and it was a bright yellow flower.  It was different and she didn’t like it.

The gardener said, “Go away, you don’t fit in the garden box.”

The dandelion said, “I’m a flower, God made me like this.”

The gardener said, “Only roses can live here. Be a rose, then you can stay.”

“Roses are big and beautiful and expensive,” the dandelion insisted, “They
have thorns.  I am free.  I have no thorns.  I am yours, God sent me to you.  I have many petals like the rose.  Look at me and see.  I’m beautiful too, God sent me to you.”

“You aren’t beautiful,” scolds the gardener, “You are a weed, and no one
likes you.”

“Look at the children,” the dandelion said sadly.  “They love me.”  Tears dropped like dew.

“Children don’t count,” the gardener said impatiently.  “Only important people matter. And important flowers.  You can change,” insisted the gardener.  “If you become a rose, you can stay and I will love you.”

The dandelion died of shame and a broken heart that day, but God had mercy
on her.  He turned her yellow petals into white flying seeds that the gardener’s children blew all around and now they grow in the grass and the fields and the roadsides where unimportant people can love them. 

Someday I hope in heaven that I have a garden full of dandelions.  I’ve always loved them.  They are beautiful to everyone until they grow up to learn that they aren’t supposed to be beautiful.  Because I never grew up, they will always be beautiful to me.  I see myself in them.