Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Decoration

Remember my utterly irresistible friend Abishai? When we were in India last month we were privileged to be able to visit him (and his parents and grandparents and the college they founded!) once again.

What's changed with Abi is that he's a little bit older (he's 5), a little bit smarter and a little bit more charming - if that's possible ...

You'll recall that last year Abishai had helped me in the kitchen any time I cooked. Back in Calgary we found the perfect gift for him:

He eagerly put the chef's jacket and toque on, carefully arranged all the utensils in the pockets, got his mother to write his name tag ("Chef Abishai"); and then he looked expectantly at Debs and me. "What are we going to cook?" he inquired.

And cook we did: roast chicken with fluffy mashed potatoes and roast beef with golden roast potatoes, sweet and sour chicken with fried rice, soup and Dad's baking-soda biscuits with golden syrup, cakes, custards, pies, cheesecake and a large sticky toffee pudding with rich caramel sauce drizzled enticingly over it.

"I think I'd like to be a cook or a preacher," Abi confided.

"Grandpa Ironside can do both," I countered. "Maybe you could too."

"I could try," he replied doubtfully. "But my girlfriend will help me cook."

Last year Abi wanted to find himself "a little wife." This year he realized that he was "too young for a wife, but I'm going to have a little girlfriend by the time I'm 10."

This year he sees "bad guys" ... "Guys who can come through the walls and the window glass, and all you can see is their legs, just like Sponge Bob," he said fearfully.

Going shopping. Abi loves Fanta.
One day he had got himself one,
then I gave him money for Debs
and me. He came back and handed
us bottles with slightly low levels:
"They were too heavy, so I had to
drink some," he explained with not
even a hint of guile ...
Debs and I stole away for one afternoon of pedicures with Abi's beautiful mother, Salome. Then we picked up Abishai and went shopping and a more patient, good-natured child would be hard to find.

On our way back to the campus late that afternoon, one of Salome's sisters called her from the States; and while they were chatting on the phone Abishai told Auntie Debs that the area under one of his eyes was very sore. He had fallen off a stool in one of the stores and Debs asked him if he had bumped his eye as he went down. No, he answered, it had started to pain him before that.

"Did you tell your mother about this?" Debs asked him.

"Yes, but she's not listening to me; she's not even responding to me!" he mourned, looking every inch the tiny tragic hero.

A truly civilized country:
if you're shopping when it's tea time,
this shop serves it to you!

Abi drinking his tea

Debs, Ashleigh and Abi painting rocks
 One of Abi's new expressions is "Don't think I don't know ..." He wanted to do a craft, so Debs sent him and his friend Ashleigh to collect interesting rocks which they then proceeded to finger paint. "I've painted with a brush before - don't think I don't know how to paint with a brush!" he insisted.

The other thing that's changed is that now Abi has a little brother, Micah. And how he loves his brother! They play together well and he shares almost everything he cherishes with his baby, who will soon weigh almost as much as Abi does ...

In October 2009 Sam and Salome asked Dad to dedicate Abishai to God as they committed themselves to bringing him up with love and kindness and godly instruction. This year they asked Dad to dedicate Micah.

Abi overheard them talking. "I want to be decorated too!" he exclaimed. "We are brothers; we should be decorated together!"

Sam explained that Abishai had been dedicated a couple of years ago but maybe had been just too small to remember. Abi looked like he was about to take exception to that answer when Dad spoke up: "The whole family should be together for this occasion," he decreed. "Abishai, I'll need you to come up as well."

"I will," promised Abi earnestly.

Listening to Grandpa Ironside
 And so it was that at the end of the graduation ceremony Abi went solemnly up the steps onto the stage and, with his mother and father and his grandmother and grandfather, was a vital part of the dedication service of his brother Micah.

Decorating Micah, who kept
reaching for the microphone
and talking - another preacher
in the wngs?!

The prayer of dedication

"The greatest gift you can give your two boys,"
Dad said, "is that their parents love each other."
"I love my brother, but I don't want any more,
and I DON'T want any sisters!"
 I have thought almost every day about Abi and his little brother, about how they truly decorate the world around them. They are full of life and beauty and bring joy to all those who come into contact with them.

And I'm reminded of the children's hymn by William Cushing and taken from Malachi 3:17 - "And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” - that we used to sing in Sunday school:

Ready to be decorated!

When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.

Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.


Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown!


  1. LOVE this story! Little ones sure know how to worm their way into our hearts:). Just a quick note to let you know that the trip to Calgary won't work this time, but hopefully soon. If you read my latest post it tells about our new little one making his(her) presence known. I'm afraid that the nausea is too overwhelming to deal with properly on the road. Praying that it passes soon and the rest of the pregnancy can be enjoyed.

  2. Thank You Karyn, Abi says he loves reading what you wrote, he wants to know why he can only see your eyes, and what are you hiding behind in your FB picture :)

  3. What a beautiful boy who is truly "responded to" by his family, his aunties around the world, and most of all his heavenly Father, who makes a path for him. Abi is an encouragement to us all.


I love to hear from you! Please leave me a leaf to read ...