Once upon a time there was a little blond blue-eyed baby boy who brought such delight to his parents by his very existence. As he grew older this boy warmed the hearts of all he saw with his prize-winning grin and smiling eyes. Each night he prayed, “Goodnight Baby Jesus. We love You, Baby Jesus. Amen.”
And God said, “I love you, too.”
This toddler soon fell in love with Barney, and had eyes for no other. He spent his days playing in the company of his brothers. “Thank you, Jesus, for my mom, dad, and brothers.”
And God said, “You’re welcome.”
Time passed and school began as the Barney infatuation waned. Besides plunking this child into a loving family, God also saw fit to give him a most precious friend in the boy’s first year of grade school. This friendship strengthened and flourished despite a rocky start. One day tiny punches were thrown over the charms of a pretty little girl. Both Galahads were suspended from school for three days. “Thank you, God, for not letting me really hurt my friend today.”
And God said, “Take care of that friendship throughout your life.”
God blessed this boy with speed. Running, running, always running – just like Forest Gump. Breaking records, earning medals, this boy sped through his high school years. “Please help me race my fastest today, Jesus.”
And God said, “I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.”
One Sunday at Mass this college boy knelt with his family and prayed, “Please, God, help me this semester. I want a 4.0.”
And God said, “I’ll give you plenty of time to study.”
God heard this boy’s voice whenever the boy spoke.
One afternoon the boy engaged in a fierce battle with an opponent while playing Madden football on TV. “Jesus Christ! How’d he miss that pass!”
God heard the most familiar voice and dropped what He was doing to help the boy who sounded so urgent in his cry. And God said, “Oh, I guess he doesn’t really need My help after all.”
That night – “Jesus Christ! Why am I the only one who ever has to do the dishes around here?”
And God said, “There’s that voice again. What should I do? He called My name. Does he need My help this time? Let Me see. Oh…no…he doesn’t.”
Next morning – “God damn it!”
And God said, “What now? He wants me to damn something? This friend of Barney? I think I hear another of My children calling. I better leave here and see what she needs.”
“Jesus! Can’t somebody else get the phone? Hang on. Jesus Christ!”
One day this young man received a package, heaven sent, you might say. Puzzled, he unwrapped the gift and stared at a coverless copy of what appeared to be a worn children’s story book. He began to read:
Once upon a time there was a blond blue-eyed baby boy whose job it was to watch over his father’s sheep. It was such a boring job day after uneventful day. The youngster was lonely and wanted someone to talk to besides sheep, so he hatched an idea.
“Wolf! Wolf! Help! Wolf!”
And his father raced to his son’s aid. But there was no wolf. The boy said he’d made a mistake.
A few weeks later, the little shepherd remembered how exciting it had been to see his father drop everything for him, and come running. So the boy did it again.
“Wolf! Wolf!” And his father came again. No wolf…again.
A third time this foolish child cried, “Wolf,” with no wolf in sight.
Months passed until one day the boy heard a ruckus among the sheep, and there it was – for real this time – a huge scary black wolf about to pounce.
No one came.
“Father! Wolf! Help! Wolf!”
Still, no one came. The flock was desecrated in moments, fluffy white devoured to a lifeless, mangled red.
With nothing left to tend, the dazed boy stumbled into town. Where could his father be that he had not heard him? Had not come? In disbelief the boy ran right into his father.
“Why did you not come? I called and called. There was a wolf. The sheep – they’re all dead!”
And the boy’s father said, “I’m not falling for that one again, my son. Aren’t you a bit too old for such nonsense? You have called me needlessly time and time again. ‘Father, Father,’ you’d cry. I came to realize that my time was better spent elsewhere. I truly did not hear you today. I am sorry. Little by little I must have tuned you out.”
And the boy walked away, utterly crushed.
Shutting the book, our young man wondered who would send him such a story. And why? He spied an envelope, tore it open and read the note:
Hey! What’s up? Can ya take a look at this story for Me? The ending’s not quite right. Can ya help Me change it?
Copyright 2009 Maureen Locher