Someone with a snob problem called my good friend’s neighborhood “the ghetto.” It cut her to the quick. Believe me, her home is gorgeous and she is blessed. But there are houses around her that are much more expensive. So it was a put-down, and like all put-downs, had nothing to do with her value to the world and eternal worth as a child of God. However, yesterday was her birthday. As she was enjoying the beautiful Arizona sunset, she suddenly saw a RAINBOW! Very unusual this time of year, quite a thrill, and excellently timed. So I hope this story from my book, “Radiant Beams,” reminds us all of the priceless gift of love we have, from The Promisekeeper Who Makes Rainbows.
It was the climax of our daughter’s birthday party, many years ago. Jordan stood before the candles on her cake, about to make her wish.
Like most mothers, I try to eke out decent birthdays for my children. So we had kiddie games. We had party favors and streamers. We had hot dogs and chips. We had a cake, pink and sweet, just like the birthday girl. And we had a colorful pile of presents, waiting for her to open.
But first, she had to make her birthday wish and blow out the candles.
Jordan studied the candles. I studied Jordan. She’s one of those children who never asks for anything, so you want to give her everything, from the moon on down. She’s thoughtful and kind, sensitive and sweet.
The light from the candles shone in her eyes as she paused delicately before the cake. Her friends hushed. She seemed to be taking longer than usual, thinking of her wish.
As her mother, brimming with love, I tried to see into her heart:
What did she REALLY want for her birthday? What goodie? What gizmo? What cool “thing”?
What was she thinking about? What was she wishing for? Was it a new bike? Darn! We should have gotten her a bike. Was it a game she saw on TV? Sports equipment? Some computer program? Something one of her friends has? A fancy outfit? Art stuff? Electronics?
Too late. She shut her eyes, and blew, “WWWWWHHHHH!”
Everybody had cake. She opened presents. Her guests went home on sugar highs with chocolate milk moustaches. In the excitement, I forgot to ask whether Jordan got her wish in the colorful pile of presents that day.
Then one afternoon, we were at our family’s summer cabin on a northern Minnesota lake. It was one of those “Seven Dwarfs” rainy days: you feel sleepy, dopey and grumpy, cooped up, reading books, playing cards and pinging off the walls.
When we were kids, my father used to try to give us hope on days like that by saying, “Aw, it’s just a ‘clearing-up shower.’”
Well, it had been “clearing up” all day. It was nearly dinner- time, and I was stressed out. When Mom’s cabin fever gets rough, the kids get going. Outside with you! It was still a little rainy, but clearing up after all.
I packed them off in old yellow rainjackets and hats, with orange life preservers, looking like three rubber ducklings. They waddled down through the mist and patches of sunlight to the lakeshore.
After a few minutes, Jordan’s urgent shout yanked me out of the kitchen:
“MOM! MOM! COME QUICK!!!”
I sucked air. Had somebody fallen in? Was there a bear? I raced down the slippery granite rocks to the water’s edge.
Jordan stood, barefoot in the shallows, pointing joyously to the east as her sisters looked on. Pine trees blocked my view. I waded in next to her so I could see what they saw.
It was a huge double rainbow. Awesome. Glowing. Resplendent. Radiant colors set off by dark purple clouds. Wow!
“On my birthday, I wished that I could see a rainbow,” Jordan whispered. “Look! Here it is. And it’s a DOUBLE!”
She squeezed my hand, radiant with joy. We held hands, stood and looked, for a good, long time.
I was humbled, and properly so. And here I thought she’d wanted some toy or other “thing.” This is so much better! I bowed my head. I had been so wrong about her birthday wish, so shallow, so short-sighted.
She was so young, but she already knew that “things” aren’t what you wish for, once a year, when you have a chance to wish big.
Moms should know better.
Luckily for Jordan, she has a Father in heaven Who heard her silent wish, when I didn’t, and granted it, when I never could have.
He put a piece of His heart in the sky, big and bold, just for her.
Jordan got her wish . . . and it was a DOUBLE. †
And He said unto them, Take heed,
and beware of covetousness:
for a man’s life consisteth not
in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
— Luke 12:15
By Susan Darst Williams | Radiant Beams book | www.RadiantBeams.org | © 2016