Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Necklace...A Beautiful Story! OR IS IT?

Just some observations from Rev. T. Wade Clegg III

The following story originated with someone I do not know and was then transmitted by someone I do know, hoping to provide what they believe to be inspirational. However, like so many “seemingly” inspirational offerings which I receive, I seldom pass them along. I often wonder if such stories are really being read, and more importantly, I fear that this particular story which is aimed at adults might actually be passed along to children as a worthwhile message. You be the judge.

The Necklace…A beautiful story!

The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

“Oh Mommy, please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.

“A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to her neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday School, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls,” said Jenny’s dad.

“Oh daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my very favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed Jenny’s cheek with a kiss.

(Forgive me for interrupting, but does this sound like a Grimm tale with that wolf? Sorry, but it just struck me that daddy is really toying with little Jenny)

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.”
(Forgive me for interrupting, but I am almost exhausted having to read and write this gibberish again…my desire to jerk the hair on Jenny’s dad’s head is almost unbearable!)

And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”
(Forgive me for interrupting, but can you imagine that this “daddy” has no clue why little Jenny is weeping! WOW, this guy needs therapy!)
Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here daddy, this is for you.”

(Forgive me for interrupting, but just as Jenny started to quiver, I screamed, “NO JENNY, DON’T GIVE BIG DADDY THE PEARLS!! He has no sense of the sentimental value to you! You worked, you saved, you took Grandma’s dollar and invested in those pearls. ASK HIM WHY HE NEEDS THEM SO BADLY! But… it was too late.)
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure
(Forgive me for interrupting, since I needed to settle down and catch my breath. When Big Daddy started to weep, after the family made little Jenny earn her own birthday pearls (with the help of Grandma’s pension), and then saw no shame in brow-beating little Jenny with guilt, night after night, to let go of her precious pearls…well I had to stop writing for just a minute. I HAD NO CLUE THAT BIG DADDY WAS A BANKER, AND CHEAP STUFF IS NOT ALLOWED, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MORE VALUABLE IT MAY BE TO A FIVE-YEAR OLD CURLY HAIRED LOVING CHILD.)


So it is, with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place. God bless… (The end)

No more interruptions; it’s sadly over. Little Jenny has been coerced over the weeks and burdened with so much guilt that she gives up those pearls and gets the real thing. Daddy did not tell her WHY he wanted those pearls, and little Jenny is just FIVE, and not old enough to ask some simple questions. No rhyme or reasons, just Daddy wants those pearls. There needs to be suffering for little Jenny with all that guilt in route to getting her Mercedez. It makes it all worthwhile with the suffering. After all without the suffering and guilt how would she know? Know what? Poor little Jenny may lose her Mother tonight, and Big Daddy will provide someone better. Seems logical.

Something is terribly wrong with this story. If there was a desire to relate a lesson of learning, this was not it. WHERE is the unconditional love in this sobby tale? There is so much simplicity packed into this story, and sadly these are the stories which are almost never questioned upon receipt. They are just labeled, “a beautiful story.”

My dear lovely readers…please take stock of what you are NOT questionning, and talk to your children when they come home from Sunday School or church, and allow them to hear (as Paul Harvey said so well)…THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY.

There is so much more to say, but not today. These thought-provoking stories of guilt, shame, suffering little children with worthless stuff, and a God who will not tolerate cheap pearls, just keep coming, so I need my rest to read them all, and know when to delete. AMEN.