A Call to Grandpa
“Mommy, can I call Grandpa James when we get home?” Gwen asked as the car pulled out of the church parking lot.
Mother smiled. “Of course. Grandpa always loves talking to his grandkids!”
“I talk to Gwampa, too!” Luke exclaimed.
“Yes, Luke. You can talk to Grandpa, too,” Mother responded.
After the family arrived home and the children had changed into playclothes Mother dialed Grandpa’s number and handed the phone to Gwen before going into the kitchen to make dinner.
“I talk to Gwampa,” Luke said grabbing at the phone.
“No, Luke,” Gwen protested, raising the phone above her head out of Luke’s reach. “I get to talk first.”
Luke let out a high pitched scream and began kicking Gwen in the shins. Gwen began to cry and dropped the phone as she tried to hold Luke away from her.
Father heard the commotion and came running into the room. “What is going on?” he asked, pulling the screaming and kicking child away from his sister.
Luke continued to scream, “I talk, I talk, I talk…”
“Luke, stop it right now!” Father said firmly. “You can’t kick your sister.”
“He hurt my legs,” Gwen cried. “And I didn’t do anything to him,” she said defensively.
“Luke, you need to tell Gwen your sorry,” Father pleaded. “She loves you. It’s not nice to hurt her.”
“No,” Luke said stubbornly. “She not let me talk to Gwampa.”
Father picked Luke up and looked into his eyes. “If you won’t apologize you’re going to time-out,” he said.
Luke began to cry. “No time-out,” he wailed. “I talk to Gwampa. Gwen is meany!”
“I am not mean and if he won’t apologize, I’m never speaking to him again,” Gwen pouted.
Father turned and gave Gwen a warning look before carrying Luke to his bedroom for time-out.
After Father left the room, Gwen mumbled to herself. “I don’t know why he’s looking at me like that. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Hello. Hello,” Grandpa James spoke loudly into the phone, “anybody there?”
Gwen scrambled to find the phone. “Hi, Grandpa,” she said picking it up. “I’m here.”
“Well, thunder and lightning! What’s going on there?” Grandpa asked.
“Oh, Luke’s being a brat,” Gwen answered. “Mommy gave me the phone so I could talk to you and he started screaming and kicking me for no reason.”
“I see,” Grandpa said. “Well, what’s on your mind, kiddo?”
“Do you have any lost sheep?” Gwen asked. “Sister Green said the Good Shepherd wants us to help find all the lost sheep, but we don’t have any sheep. So I want to help you find your lost sheep?”
Grandpa chuckled. “Well, darlin’ all my sheep are accounted for. You see, old Ranger is such a mighty fine sheep dog that not a one of my sheep is lost,” he explained. “Are you sure you don’t have any lost sheep at your house?” Grandpa teased.
“I promise, Grandpa. We don’t have any sheep at all!”
“Gwenny, do you remember how that little lamb was a’bawling the last time you came to visit me?”
“I remember, Grandpa,” Gwen sniffled, “She was sad ’cause she had wandered away from her mama.”
“That’s right, Pumpkin. And remember how happy the ewe was when she found the little critter?”
Gwen laughed. “She was so happy she licked him so hard, he almost tipped over.”
“Well, the way your little brother was a’bawling and a’carrying on, I’m thinking he just might be a little bit lost right now.”
“Oh, he’s not lost Grandpa. He’s just in time-out for being naughty,” Gwen explained. “And I’m so mad at him I hope he has to stay in time-out for a long, long time!,” Gwen confessed.
“Well, you see, Gwen. Jesus’ is the Good Shepherd, but his flock is all of God’s children. When one of us is naughty or not doing what’s right, we’ve strayed from the flock. That’s when Jesus needs our help finding ’em and bringing ’em back,” Grandpa explained, “And the best way for us to do that is to be forgiving and show mercy to ’em.”
“But, Grandpa, Luke wasn’t even sorry!” Gwen protested.
“That’s why they call it mercy, Sweetheart. You see, if you stay mad at Luke, he’s likely to stay mad at you, too. But if you show him mercy and forgive him, even if he’s not sorry, well then he’ll see what a great sister he has. And before you know it, he’ll be apologizing. Then, you, Little Lady, will have helped find one of Jesus’ lost sheep! But, if you don’t, well, you just might get lost, too!”
Gwen paused for a moment. “I gotta go now, Grandpa. I’ve got to find Luke and tell him I’m sorry so neither of us are lost sheep! And, Grandpa, when I find him, I’m going to be so happy that I’m going to hug him so tight he almost tips over!”
by Margie Nauta Lee