The Perfect Gift
“It’s just what I wanted!” I said, tearing open my gift Christmas morning. My husband, Sam, laughed. It was an old joke between us. I always got just what I wanted because I picked out my own gifts.
Truth be told, the joke was getting old. Shopping for my own gifts was practical, sure, but it also felt so unromantic. If Sam really loved me he would know what I want without me having to tell him, I thought as I picked up torn wrapping paper and discarded bows.
That night I sat up late by myself, still brooding over my gift and wondering why Christmas left me feeling so blue. I heard a rustle from the corner of the den.
“Merry Christmas, Chunky,” I said, reaching my hand into the cage in the corner that held our beloved guinea pig. He’d been a pet in the school where I teach until a janitor adamantly refused to clean a classroom with a “rodent” in it.
Chunky pressed his pink nose into my hand. He had no problem knowing what I needed. I finally went to bed feeling more sorry for myself than ever. I said a prayer as I fell asleep: Lord, I just want to feel loved.
Next morning, I found Chunky lying on the bottom of his cage, breathing hard. No amount of urging could get him to stand up. I put him in a shoebox and Sam and I rushed him to the veterinarian. It was no use. Chunky had had a stroke. And we had to put him out of his suffering. I cried like I’d lost my best friend.
Back at home, the house seemed empty without Chunky. It felt even more so when Sam rushed out with the kids to rent some movies.
I lay on the couch, missing the sound of Chunky’s bustling in his cage, and repeating the prayer I’d said the night before.
Sam and the kids got home an hour later carrying a small brown box. Sam put it in my lap. Scratch scratch, I heard from inside the box. Carefully I lifted the lid. Out popped a tiny black-and-white face.
“Daddy saw you cry, so he got you a guinea pig,” my daughter said.
When it mattered most, Sam knew just what I needed: exactly what I prayed for.
Written by Carole Wyatt, Anderson, Indiana
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