“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
The sun keeps enticing us to stay a little longer. It streams through the leaves, skips across the pond and dances on the spider webs. The fiery leaves blaze with pride when the sun touches them and I can’t resist taking just one more photograph of Jackson climbing into the blue sky.
But finally we pull ourselves away and leave the park, promising to return soon. It is a carefree kind of a day. We stop to read the sign about coyotes — neither of us in a hurry to get home.
The gravel parking lot is almost empty now. “But…wait. What is wrong with my van?” It takes a few more steps to see the broken glass. “Oh my purse,” I moan. “I left it on the seat.” Instantly I know what happened.
But it doesn’t make sense to a four year old and Jackson begins to scream, completely panicked and confused. I can’t hear all of his words. They are mixed with piercing cries and shrieks. But I do hear, “No — not your purse. You love that purse. We need to get it back. What has happened? How will we get it back? How Mommy? We need to get it back? When will they give it back?”
He keeps trying to pick at the glass still hanging on to the window frame. I tell him to stop as I reach for my phone in my pocket to phone my mom. “Can Susan meet us at a repair shop?” I buckle Jackson into his booster seat, pick up one of his books and sweep the worst of the glass off my seat. With a towel from the backseat — I find towels so helpful to keep in the car — I cover the rest of the glass on my seat and we drive to meet Susan.
Troublesome crimes like this are so frustrating. The thief gained almost nothing from stealing my purse, but it will cost me hundreds of dollars and many hours to repair all his damage. We store too much in our wallets and purses. Thieves can take so much with one greedy fist.
Jackson is still talking through tears, trying to understand. “This is the worst thing that has ever happened,” he whimpers and I know that in his short life it is. I am grateful it is a small crime and I keep assuring him that everything is okay. It is only stuff. We are fine and that is all that matters.
I can’t express my relief and gratitude that only my purse is gone. My son is safe. The radio is playing “Blessed be the name of the Lord…” and I worship. This is another lesson today, a vivid reminder, that everything on this earth will slip from our hands and all we have are our treasures in Heaven.
Jackson is in bed by the time I get home from the store. My husband has him tucked in, but he hears me open the door. I am happy — I want to hug and pray with him tonight. I go to Jackson’s room and snuggle up. He asks me more questions and we talk.
We talk about God. “They can’t steal God!” Jackson pronounces triumphantly, his voice still shaky with tears, “He is too big!”
We talk about Heaven. I tell him about Jesus’ lesson about treasures in Heaven. I hope he understands a little.
And then we pray. I pray first, thanking God for our safety and asking forgiveness for the thieves, praying for God to help them too. I explain to Jackson that they are hurting and lost and that is why they do such things.
Jackson hesitates to pray tonight, but then he does.
“Dear God, thank you for my friends and family. Thank you God only the purse was stolen and that my mommy loves me. Thank you that I wasn’t stolen. And thank you that my cousin wasn’t stolen. Cause if she was stolen then I would cry forever…”
He keeps praying in his innocent language, thanking God for saving us “for” our sins and dying on the cross. I wish I could record it all. I am trying so hard to remember the words but they fade as fast as they come. I imagine God is as in love with him as I am.
Despite it all, I feel so peaceful. Not only are we all safe, but also I am grateful for the lessons. I hope Jackson can remember what it felt like to be hurt so profoundly so that compassion can grow deep within him. I hope he learns to hold on to this world a little less tightly and clings to the Truth instead. I hope that I do too. Most of all, I just feel complete relief that there is more to life than purses, wallets and toys. That this earth isn’t all we have. That, like Jackson said, “They can’t steal God.” We have forever waiting and our treasures are safe.