You guys may have seen the picture on my page... now it is time to tell the story.
This night basically affirmed why I do music, but more than that, it painted a picture of pure, unhindered LOVE that only God could produce at a given moment like this one.
This is how it went:
It was a regular show at Jives Coffee Lounge in Old Colorado City. Quiet, but enough noise to let you know there was summer in the breezes coming in through the double glass doors at the front of the shop. I was on the stage, sitting on a stool plucking away to the few friends and later-night coffee goers seated at the tables that filled the space between me and the counter. It was faint at first, but grew louder. Some rumbling noise that sounded like someone dragging a plastic bin across concrete. I opened my eyes to see a mini jeep driven by a mini diva.
You could tell she was the main attraction on Colbrunn Ct that evening. She parked the powerwheel directly in the middle of the sidewalk like she was waiting for a valet, hopped out, and strolled through the open doors like she owned everything and everyone inside. In her summer dress, sunglasses at night, and a white scarf tied fashionably around her neck like a boa at a gala, ms. Blonde Bombshell claimed her spot right next to the stage, followed by her daddy who sat next to her at the table.
It was awesome. And, I was a little jealous because of some early childhood drama of not having a powerwheel of my own, but I quickly got over it.
I started my next song and was just through the last chorus when I heard "give it to him". I opened my eyes to see two blue, glossy eyes staring up at me and an outreached hand attached to a dollar bill. My heart jumped, how amazing is this. First of all, I think it was the first tip ever given to me at a show, and second I had the most gorgeous girl giving it to me. WIN/WIN. I said thank ya miss, tipped my hat, and put the dollar bill in my front shirt pocket, er, I mean said thank you and put the dollar in my pocket.
I continued on with the set, and finished about three songs later, invited anyone up to buy one of my CDs and/or T-Shirts, and hung around the merch table. The crowd of people cleared, rather quickly actually since I think 2 people came up, and I was just packing up when I heard her soft footsteps walking up behind me. I turned to see Riley with a $5 bill clutched in her right hand, and a quiver on her lip. Either I was unfathomably good at music, or she was 5 years old and shy. I'll take both.
"Hi!" I said. She remained quiet. "Would you like to get a CD?" I asked. She nodded, as only a child could do, and you know exactly what I am talking about. There is something about children that makes the world stop in its tracks when you are talking to them. They don't quite know how to respond to conversation, so you supplement your speech with a soft tone and a smile to let them know you are not a scary person, and their honesty in their emotions melts you with every second. I turned, grabbed a CD, and turned back to give it to her. She warmed up a little bit. I couldn't resist, so I said "would you like a shirt too?"
Her eyes lit up a little bit, and I got another nod. "What color would you like?" I asked. "Green." I turned to grab it, and from out of nowhere, "And," (she said very quickly) "can I have one for my brother too?"
This is the point when I felt my heart skip a beat.
I don't think, up to this point in life, I have seen God's love portrayed so tangibly to me.
Matthew 19:13 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Let me explain. To you and to me, a shirt that is sold at a show costs money. It is also something that, usually, you would buy for yourself or maybe a girlfriend/spouse whatever or as a present for a birthday maybe. It is a shirt, something you throw in the droor, wear every laundry day, and don't think more than twice about it.
But to Riley, there was no concept of money, there was no concept of laundry day, I don't even think there was a concept of the shirt (as in when will she wear it or what will she do with it). To riley, none of this mattered, except one thing, sharing LOVE with her brother. Without hesitation, not even a second to think about herself and if she would get anything in return, she asked if she could have a second shirt to give to her brother. I have never seen a love so honest in my life.
Now, I know the response to this might be, "She's 5. That is what 5 year olds do." We're older. We HAVE a concept of money. We HAVE times to give gifts like Christmas and Birthdays. Yes, this is all true, but let me ask you this, what is the deeper motive here? Is it the t-shirt, is it the single act of giving a gift? Or could it be the fact that she was thinking about someone other than herself FIRST, and proceeded to share a deeper love with her brother to see a smile hit his face, and to invite him into the joy she experienced.
I know she is 5, I know she was just being the sweetheart that she is, but I also know that the kingdom of Heaven belongs to her. What can I learn from this? Everything. The most important command in the bible is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor (brother, sister, girlfriend, boyfriend, people closest to you) as you love yourself. She did just that.
I'll be the first to tell you that I am incredibly selfish, in more than one area. This single act of a little girl getting a dinky t-shirt for her brother, broke my heart into a million tiny grateful pieces. I don't think I am overly dramatic, or exaggerating this in any way, I believe that God used her in my life to show me what the condition of my heart really is, and to give me an example of what His looks like and what I should be striving for. Matthew 18:3 says "Then he said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.'" Unless I recognize my selfishness, and turn away and become like Riley, thinking of others first, I will have no idea what Christ is like.
SO, I said no because I have to pay for pei-wei and coldstone ice cream at dinner tonight.
Of course I said yes. "What color do you think he would like?" I asked. "Blue!". So, I swung a blue shirt into her arms. She was so excited, it was awesome. We unrolled her green one, took a picture of her and I, and I left that night with the biggest grin on my face. This tiny woman made off with 2 t-shirts (both colors, and I think one of the last smalls I had in blue) and a CD, a bill of 25 bucks, for $5. What can I say, I guess I have a thing for blondes. She is going to do well in life.
Thank you Riley, if you ever read this, you are one heckuva girl.
I'll leave you this time with a song from NEEDTOBREATHE called Let Us Love. It sums this one up pretty well I think.