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I read the story this week, of a woman who was shamed and brought closer to God by someone the world would over look.


“We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said “Hi There.” He wiggled and giggled with merriment at a man with a tattered rag of a coat, dirty, greasy, and worn. His pants were baggy, with a zipper at half mast and his toes poked of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were not quite a beard and varicose charted a complex map across his nose.


We were too far to smell him, but I’m sure he smelled. His hands waved at my baby “Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,” the man said to Erik. My husband and I didn’t know what to do. Erik continued to laugh and answer, “Hi, Hi There.”


Our meal finally came, and the drunken geezer began shouting across the room “Do you know patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey look, he knows peek-a-boo.” No one thought the old man was cute. My husband and I were embarrassed. Erik, on the other hand was running through his repertoire of tricks all of which were admired by the bum.


We finally got through the meal. My husband went to pay, Erik and I headed for the door. The old man was poised between me and the door. I uttered a prayer “Lord just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik.”


As I drew close the man, I turned my back trying to side-step him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position.


Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man’s. Erik in an act of total trust, love and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands, full of grime, pain, and hard labor gently, so gently, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back.


The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm, commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.” Somehow I managed “I will” from a throat that contained a stone. I received my baby and the man said “God bless you ma’am you’ve given me my Christmas gift.”


I ran to the car. My husband wondered why I was crying and saying “My God, my God, forgive me.


The ragged old man, unwittingly had reminded me “To enter the Kingdom of God we must become as little children.”

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