I was in the laundry room sorting a mountain of socks. Lonny was in the nearby bathroom helping the little boys brush their teeth. I heard their conversation over the rush of running water.
“What did you learn today, guys?” Lonny asked.
“I learned about Z,” Gabe said. “Like zebra. And zoo.” More water. Clack of a cup on the porcelain sink.
Isaiah must’ve had a mouthful of toothpaste because he was silent.
But Samuel had something to share. “We learned about jack-o-lanterns. Mom read a story about how we’re like Halloween pumpkins. It was cool.”
I remembered the tract I’d found in the bottom of Zay’s orange plastic pumpkin bucket . It had been buried under Tootsie Rolls and Snicker bars. I’d read Christin Ditchfield’s sweet story, “A Pumpkin Tale”, over lunch.
“Jack-o-lanterns? “” Lonny asked. “ Tell me how we’re like jack-o-lanterns.” There was a shuffling sound as another boy climbed to the sink.
“Well,” Sam said. “God picks us out of the patch. He calls us His own. Then he scoops out the gunk from our hearts like we scoop out the gunk from the pumpkins. After the scooping is done, God puts a smile on our faces because He loves us. Then our lights shine for Jesus.”
“That’s cool,” Lonny said. “A neat way to think about what God’s done for us.”
“Uh huh.” Water. Spit. Water.
A moment later all three little guys rushed to the laundry room. There was a chorus of “ love you”, hugs, and a number of sweet, minty kisses. Then they ran, in a boy- herd, toward the stairs. I waited for Sam to come back. It was his routine – one more hug.
When he rounded the corner again, I opened my arms. I pulled him close and whispered in his ear. “I’m glad you remembered the pumpkin story. I hope your light always shines for Jesus.”