“Bedtime!”, Faith announced to her beloved seven-year-old daughter, Rachel.
“I’m ready!”, Rachel declared as she ran from the bathroom and jumped into her bed with a giggle.
“Okay, what will it be tonight, a bedtime story or our talk?”, Faith inquired of her giggly child.
“Our talk,” Rachel told her mother in a serious tone that Faith had never heard before from her
“Our talk. Alright. What would you like to talk about?”, Faith asked.
“I heard Mrs. Pope tell Ms. Pearl that you are a vain witch. She said that you dressed up just to make the
other women look shabby and ugly. She said that it was just a phony show when you said that you loved
me in front of everybody,” Rachel informed her with hurt in her voice.
Faith caught her breath in shock. Mrs. Pope had recently moved into the townhouse complex and had
immediately singled her, Faith, out as her target for mean verbal attacks. Faith didn’t know why because
she had never met the woman before she had moved in. Mrs. Pope, who was a widow, just as she was,
was a mean-spirited, angry woman. Mrs. Pope, who appeared to be in her late forties, didn’t seem to
have any children.
Every morning before leaving for work, she would put Rachel on the school bus. She would tell
her daughter, ‘Be your best self today and remember, I love you’.
“Did you say anything to Mrs. Pope and Ms. Pearl?”, Faith inquired.
“I told them that you were not a witch and that you loved me! I told her that she was evil and mean!”, Rachel said with tears in her voice. “She called me a spoiled, disobedient brat. She said that the women in the complex should make you move out because you were after their husbands and boyfriends.”
Faith pulled her emotionally hurt daughter into her arms and pondered what to say to her without displaying her anger at the woman who had become more than a just a nuisance.
“Do you remember what you have been taught in youth church about God’s love for us?”, Faith asked Rachel.
“Yes,” Rachel replied feeling safe in her mother’s embrace.
“Well, there is the other side of our love for God and how we honor and show our love to God for all of Her blessings to us. We must accept God’s love and allow it to fill us up inside so that we can give love to our families and others. When we don’t accept God’s love inside of us, we have a darkness within us that becomes filled with hate, anger and jealousy. We can only give back to the world around us what we have inside of us,” Faith explained to her child.
“I don’t understand,” Rachel said to her.
“Okay. Go get your cup from the bathroom,” Faith instructed her.
Rachel jumped from the bed, ran into the bathroom, returned with her heart shaped pink cup and held it out to her mother.
“Can you give me a drink of water from the cup just as it is right now?”, Faith asked of her daughter.
"It’s empty! There’s no water in it!”, Rachel exclaimed.
“But it does have air in it. To give me a drink of water, you would have to fill it with water, otherwise you’re offering me empty air,” Faith said.
“You can’t get a drink of water from an empty cup!” Rachel said in understanding to her.
“It’s the same with Love. You must fill yourself with the love of God in order to give love out to others. You must show your love of God in outward ways as well. God gives great blessings. Our bodies are his temple or the place where he lives inside of us. We must keep our bodies, His temple within us, clean and attractive just as we would the house that we live in. We must take care of our bodies and dress to show God’s great blessings to us, meaning being neat, clean and impeccable in our appearance, not slovenly and disheveled. You are one of the great blessings that God gave to me. I am so grateful for you and that’s why I always tell you that I love you. I say it loud and with great pride. I don’t hide my love for you or for God. I let my light of love shine as bright as I can. Do you understand what I just told you?”, Faith inquired of her daughter.
“I think so. Mrs. Pope doesn’t love people, especially children,” Rachel stated.
“That doesn’t mean that God hasn’t given her blessings and doesn’t love her. She receives just as much love from God as you and I do. She just hasn’t accepted it and allowed it to fill the dark spaces inside of her. So, anger, hate and jealousy are all that she can give out to the world,” Faith told her.
"What do I say to her when she says those mean things about you?”, Rachel asked.
“Well, perhaps you can say that God blesses us daily and we like to show it. You can even tell her that God loves her, too,” Faith replied.
“Can I say ‘I love you, too’ to her?” Rachel inquired with a smile.
“Of course. The more love you give out, the more love and blessings God gives you,” Faith answered. “Now, talk time is over. It’s bedtime for you. Say your prayers.”
“Good night, Mamma. I love you,” Rachel said as she slid down under the covers.
“Good night, my angel. I love you, too,” Faith told her from the bedroom door.
As she left Rachel’s room, closing the door up to a crack, she wondered if the angry, mean- spirited Mrs. Pope knew that she had prompted a lesson in Love to a very inquisitive little girl. Faith admitted that it had also been a learning experience for her.