Our dog, Jake, seemed to have gotten old overnight. His eyes were cloudy and his hair was thinning. He no longer pulled the toilet paper from off the roll and into the hallway to chew on for as long as he could get away with it. Food didn’t interest him anymore. Except cookies. He always had an appetite for cookies. His body had lived a good, long fifteen years and now it was time to let him go.
So I stood there, choking back the tears, waiting to drown my sorrows in an iced three-shot espresso with milk and lots of chocolate. And then I heard a tiny voice behind me say “hello.”
I turned around and saw a little round face sweetly smiling up at me. I couldn’t help but smile back and return the greeting. And for a moment my tears were kept at bay.
The kindness of this three-year-old boy shined a light into my dreary day.
He didn’t move mountains; he didn’t lead an army; he didn’t preach a great sermon. He simply smiled and helped me through a painful day. And to me, that was a lot.
I left with my drink and an unexpected shot of strength and hope to get through the day.
I'll never forget Jake. I'll miss the way he got under my feet while I was trying to make dinner. I'll miss the ridiculous mess he made in the three-foot radius around his food dish. But mostly I’ll miss the unconditional love he gave that got me through many difficult days and how he taught me about Jesus.
And I'll never forget the day I made another little friend, a friend who helped me smile even when I didn’t think I could.
He’ll never know what that meant to me. But I hope someday he knows he was Jesus for me in a tiny, cute, little package.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”