When I Was a Child

by Barbara Ann Oliver

When I was a child, my mother made me wear big white socks that she had worn until they were too stretched out for her. They were so big I had to put rubber bands around the tops to hold them up.

One day, on my way home from school, it started to rain, and those socks got so wet that the rubber bands couldn’t hold them up anymore. They sank down to my ankles in a big, messy clump. The other kids laughed at me, and I began to cry.

Out of nowhere, a big umbrella covered me over, and an arm fell across my shoulders. A soft voice comforted me, telling me that people had laughed at her before, and that I should not pay any attention to those kids. She said it didn’t matter what I wore or what other people thought of me because of the way I looked. It only mattered who I was inside.

I let the warmth of her words and touch soak into my weary soul. Too shy to look up, all I saw were dark legs at the top of her boots.

During times of heartache and trouble, I am reminded of another voice that comforts me. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b, NKJV). And I am reminded that part of my job here on earth is to be a comforter (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 12:15, 12:10).

On rainy days, I remember the sweet black teenager who took the time to love a little white kid with droopy socks and a broken heart.

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Barbara A Oliver

Barbara Ann Oliver has worked with the church in Costa Rica for many years and serves as the associate editor for Forthright Magazine.

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