Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Marshmallow Man

I love the innocence of children. I love the way they often misuse words and end up saying the most hilarious things. One of my kids, who shall remain nameless ( In order to protect the guilty) had an awesome talent for this.
I grew up in a simpler time, perhaps a safer time. Though life wasn't without its perils it was common practice for my brothers and I to play outside for hours, especially in the summertime. We knew to be home by dark but aside from that the rules were few.
Parents in the neighborhood knew each other and watched out over each other's kiddos. When I was ten we moved to Riverside and that sense of community, for me anyway, faded.
Moving was a huge adjustment for me. I felt out of place and awkward. There is one memory in the midst of those growing pains that still makes me smile. That memory is of the Marshmallow Man.
"The Marshmallow Man?" you may ask. Each evening this elderly gentleman went for a walk leaving his wife (Mrs. Marshmallow?) at home.
I don't remember this dear man ever saying a word. In my memory he was a shy, quiet man. with very long legs. He was the Pied Piper of Dundee Road. Maybe he enjoyed the endless chatter of children or perhaps he just couldn't walk fast enough to get away from us! Either way all the kids in the neighborhood knew if we walked along with the Marshmallow Man we would be rewarded with...who told you? Marshmallows!
Being kids sometimes we would conveniently catch up just at the tail end of his walk. But you know what, we received the fluffy white confection just the same! I didn't even like marshmallows. It wasn't the marshmallow that made the walk worth the effort. It was the fact that somehow this quiet man communicated love and acceptance.
It really takes so little to build up a child and make them feel loved. I wonder at times why I withhold affection and praise from others? Even my own children at times are subjected to this selfishness. It is very sad that I can so easily sin in this way. The way James 4:17 warns us about. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do [it], to him it is sin.
Funny in many ways the Marshmallow Man reminds me of Jesus. No matter where we join Him on the walk, He is just happy to have us along. The prize is waiting at the end and it is so much more wonderful than a marshmallow!

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