The Park

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About a year ago I was babysitting for this 4 1/2 year old little girl for the summer. I was out of college for the summer and it was the perfect summer job! Maddie and I would walk to the park everyday after lunch. Maddie loved to swing on the swings and go down the slide. She was a very good hearted little child and she always amazed me at the love she felt for other people. She had such goodness in her little heart. Both of her parents were the same way -- they always had such a peace about them -- I always wondered -- why are they so different?

That day at the park as I was pushing Maddie in the swing we heard a bunch of kids laughing. We looked over and all the kids were crowded around one of the park benches. Maddie wanted to stop swinging and go over there and see what they were laughing at. We walked over and a little boy ran up to Maddie and said, "Come over here and look at this funny lady! She is dirty and smelly and she is crying!!"

Maddie pushed the little boy away and walked over to where the woman was sitting on the bench. She looked to be about 50 years old -- even though she could have been very easily a lot younger. It looked like life had been very hard on her. The little boy was right, she did smell and she was all dirty.

My immediate thought was to grab Maddie by the hand and take her away from this woman. I looked over and Maddie was already sitting next to the woman and was holding her hand. The woman looked down at Maddie and she smiled. For that split second this woman was no longer dirty and smelly, she was beautiful!!! All the other kids finally left and Maddie gave the woman a hug and she too left.

On the way home Maddie was humming a little song and skipping a little bit. Her usual self, she was happy -- not a care in the world. I was waiting for her to say something about the woman but she didn't. Finally, when we got home I could not wait any longer. I went to Maddie and I asked her, "Maddie, why did you do that?" She said, "Do what Julie?" I said, "Why did you go up to that woman like that and hold her hand Maddie? All the other kids were either laughing at her or they were scared of her. You just went right up to her like that!"

Maddie looked at me and said, "Julie, Jesus wouldn't treat that woman like that. Everyone laughed and treated Jesus that way and look at what He did! He died for us on the cross. Every time I see someone like that being made fun of I always go to them and give them a hug and tell them that Jesus loves them. It always makes them feel better!"

Here I stood -- a 20 year old college student -- supposed to be so smart!! And here was this 4 1/2 year old little girl who knew so much more than I did. That's what it was about her!! It was Jesus. Jesus Christ who came to this cold and dirty world, got stepped on, laughed at, spit on and still -- he died for us. I changed that day and the world now looks different to me. All because a 4 1/2 year old little girl showed me what it really means to love.