By S M Chen, Posted Aug. 26, 2015

My daughter Tracy seems to attract friends like ripe bananas do fruit flies.  Her Pilates teacher Sara is a slim woman with dirty blonde hair, who has made some unfortunate life choices and finds herself a single mother and sole source of support of three boys who range in age from 5 to 21.

The older two half-brothers sometimes tend the youngest, Jason, and, not unlike the older brothers of the Biblical Joseph, often aren’t very nice to him.  The four of them live in a small, crowded townhouse.  In addition to teaching Pilates, Sara works as an ecdysiast on weekends to support the family. It was only natural that Tracy and my grandson Sam would befriend Sara and Jason.   Jason has never met his father, who absconded when Sara was two months pregnant.   Jason spends a lot of time alone and is not particularly happy.

Recently, Tracy took Sam and Jason on a trolley ride near the coast.  She likes Sam, an only child, to interact with other children.  Fortunately, Sam gets along quite well with Jason.

Chen, Pebbles art

At a trolley stop, near a teak furniture store, in his haste to board, Jason left a favorite toy, a stuffed dog.  Upon noticing his loss, he began to cry.   We humans develop attachments to things, like an old security blanket, a ragged doll, or a pair of worn comfortable shoes, whose worth to us often far exceeds their intrinsic value.  Neither Jason nor Sam enjoyed themselves after Jason discovered his dog was missing.  Jason cried for the next hour.  A call to the furniture store, which had closed, went unanswered.   A call from the trolley driver to the other three trolley drivers to watch for the toy was not helpful.

It was then that Sam, unprompted, prayed that the lost toy dog would be found.  It was a simple prayer, the kind a four-year-old would pray at bedtime or in kindergarten.

Sam had witnessed answered prayer before.  Tracy had misplaced her wedding rings and, after a futile two-week search, harbored little hope of finding them.

Little Sam had comforted her, saying, “Jesus will help us find them.”   And He did.

Jason just stared at Sam.  He had had no exposure to religion/spirituality and consequently was unaccustomed to prayer.  He did not know Jesus as a friend.

There was no way to return to the last trolley stop except for a long uphill walk, so the three of them stayed on the trolley till it made its prescribed loop and returned to the stop where they had boarded.

And there, at the stop, was the toy dog.  Just where Jason had left it.  He was, of course, overjoyed, grabbed it and hugged it tightly.

Whereupon Sam prayed again, this time to thank Jesus.  Jason actually bowed his head and closed one eye (the other left open the better to watch Sam).

Jason didn’t say anything about Sam’s actions, but he might well have wondered if Jesus did indeed answer prayer.  Even if it was from a little boy about something as seemingly inconsequential as a toy dog.

A pebble had been dropped into the pond, a seed dropped in soil.  Where the ripples end and whether the seed germinates we may only someday learn.