Fonticulus Fides

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Power of Prayer for Preschoolers

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I'm actually surprised to see how long it's been since I blogged -- sorry. It's a busy time of year for me. Every year in July, I help out a friend by editing and proofing her annual magazine about Lincoln. I've been doing it for 12 years now, and I just can't say no. So July is always busy -- too busy, especially with two children born this month! Anyway, all my free time has been taken up with editing, proofing and also planning Zooey's fifth birthday party. I can't wait for August!

I've also been learning some things about prayer and priorities. More to come soon, but I just have to share this story about Zooey.

Zooey's constant companion this summer has been a tiny metal Bobcat (the construction vehicle, not the animal) -- it's about an inch long and a half-inch wide, and it use to be a key fob, but the chain and ring seperated from it a long time ago. Zooey's best friend Jacob gave it to him, and since he rarely sees Jacob since school let out, I think that might be why he has attached himself to this minute object. He calls it Shelvin, which I think is a hilarious name (don't ask me where it came from -- I have no idea!).

Anyway, Zooey and Edyn were playing in the back yard on Monday afternoon and somehow, Zooey lost Shelvin in the tall grass. You see, we've had a lot of rain around here (thank you, Lord!), and my husband has been working long hours, so he hadn't had a chance to mow for like 10 days. Zooey looked and looked but couldn't find Shelvin. I helped him for a while, but our back yard is about 45 feet wide and 100 feet long, and Zooey had NO idea where he lost Shelvin. Imagine trying to find a 1" long object in that much tall grass!

As it got dark and the mosquitoes came out, I called off the search for the evening. We went inside to wash up, and Zooey hugged my leg and said, "Mom, I have bad news...I think Shelvin is gone and I'm never going to see him again!" He burst into tears and I tired to console him. My husband arrived home right about then, and he took Zooey outside to look one more time before bed. No luck.

Zooey was so sad. He asked me if it would be okay to keep thinking about Shelvin, and I said sure, the search wasn't over yet. My husband was planning to mow on Tuesday morning, and he might find him. I told Zooey he could pray to Jesus to help him find Shelvin, and he could ask St. Anthony to pray, too, because St. Anthony had a thing about finding lost objects. Zooey did that and his mood improved, but not much.

The next morning, I took the dog out to the back yard and surveyed the situation. Talk about a needle in a haystack! I could not imagine how I'd ever be able to find that tiny little Bobcat. I took three steps into the yard and kicked the grass around with my toe, thinking about how impossible this was. Then I spied a tiny bit of white sticking out of the mud at the base of a clump of grass. Could it be? I got down and fished it out with my finger.

It was Shelvin all right. Buried in mud up so that just that top quarter inch or so was sticking out of the ground! I was flabbergasted, and prayed my thanks to God and St. Anthony. Then I took it inside and washed it up. I couldn't help myself -- I went right up to Zooey's room and woke him up. "I'm going to put something in your hand," I whispered. "Are you awake? It's Shelvin!"

Zooey smiled wide with joy. "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you St. Anthony!" he whispered, and squeezing Shelvin tight in his fist, he shut his eyes and drifted back into sleep.

There are some who would say it was pure luck that I found Shelvin -- I'd like them to calculate the odds.

There are some who would say that God has much more important things to do than to help an almost-five-year-old boy find a toy carelessly lost. But you know, now that I think about it, is there anything more important that teaching him that his faith in God is valid?

I am so grateful that even though losing a toy is a little thing in the grand scheme of things, God understands what it means to the heart of a little boy.



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