Real children don’t always behave well, not like the cherished doll that adorned my bed. Real children come to us bringing messes, noises, and cries of protest. Not Priscilla. I bought her at a church bazaar with my babysitting money, after years of yearning for one of Mrs. Dillon’s dolls. Priscilla’s job was to spend the day exactly as I’d arranged her, propped against my pillow; pleasant, quiet, and clean. I came home from school to find she’d performed these duties flawlessly.
My son stopped by briefly with his wife and children yesterday. While he was talking with my husband, I leaned against the van door to chat with his wife, their three sons, and their foster son.
The kids were loud and a bit disobedient. They’d just come from a BBQ and wore remnants of a meal on their faces. I couldn’t resist their hugs and updates on their day. Even my new little foster grandson called me grandma, not resting till I’d grabbed his hand and given him my attention.
My doll never did that.
I didn’t discover my doll’s ruse until this week, when I remembered she wasn’t actually what she appeared to be. Priscilla was fashioned to look like a rag doll, but she was actually handcrafted from new materials. No rags, or anything second-hand, was used in her creation.
She was also a false friend. Her lips were stitched into a pleasant smile, but she couldn’t truly care about me, not like the little boys who reached for me from the back seat.
Free to love and be loved
That Christmas, my Sunday School class volunteered to provide a neighborhood family with Christmas gifts, and I donated Priscilla. It was truly a sacrificial gift, and sometimes I wish I’d kept her. It was better, though, to give her up to fulfill her purpose, bringing joy to a child in need.
In some ways I’m much like Priscilla. I am loved, cherished and protected, yet working in disorderly, noisy, uncomfortable places in order to share God’s love.
“. . . because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV).
Some day I will see I’ve been sitting next to Jesus all along.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis