|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.08(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
DAFFODILS OF DAMASCUS
by Dr. Beverly Boone
"He's the meanest man in town," declares 10-year-old Winnie to her baby brother, Trey. Across the street, Old Man Gilbert is staring at them from his front porch. "Let's play video games inside; his eyeballing is creeping me out!"
Trey and Winnie have little play time between morning and afternoon Sunday church services. Sometimes, wanting more play time, Trey will ask his mother why they have to go to church so much when their friends do not. Mrs. Stephens' answer is always the same: "We go to church because church is our home, too, and the members are our church family."
After relentless pleas from her children, Mrs. Stephens agrees to a short play time before their return for afternoon service: "Trey, you and Winnie can play outside with your new ball for a little while. But please, stay out of my daffodils!" For the Stephens' family, the daffodils symbolize their New Life since accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. When the daffodils are in bloom, Mrs. Stephens always welcomes new members with a beautiful bouquet of her yellow and white daffodils.
"But mom said we could play with my new ball, Winnie! I don't want to go inside!"
"If we stay outside, Old Man Gilbert might just come down from his old porch and get us!"
"Stop saying that! You're being mean!
"Well, he does treat our family mean, just because we are Christians! He won't say hello if you speak to him; he calls mom and dad 'church hypocrites;' and if we stand close to his house, he threatens to call the police on us!"
"Come on! You're using up our play time talking so much, Winnie!" Trey then throws the ball at his sister. She gives the ball a swift, power kick, sending it over Trey's head, where it lands in Old Man's Gilbert's front yard."
The siblings watch Old Man Gilbert rise from his chair and pick up the ball. "Guess I got myself another one," he says in a menacing voice. Old Man Gilbert then points to an old, faded sign in his yard.
"See that sign!" yells Old Man Gilbert. "It says, No Trespassing! That means you and your junkie toys, too! Ump! Church Brats!"
Winnie and Trey watch Old Man Gilbert take the ball inside his house, locking the door behind him.
"Oh no! Try to get that ball back if you dare, Baby Brother!"
"Trey ... Winnie ... time to eat and get ready for church!" calls Mr. Stephens.
"Trey, let's go! We'll figure out how to get your ball later!" Winnie says as she runs into her house.
But Trey has more immediate plans. Pretending to stay behind to lace up his shoes, he makes a dash to Old Man Gilbert's front door to beg him for his ball. But before knocking, he stands unnoticed by the window. What he sees touches his seven-year-old heart with feelings of compassion and empathy for the old man:
A mountain of dirty dishes sits in the sink; a layer of fast-food trash is strewn throughout the floor; a film of dust covers the furniture; and food is splattered across the microwave. A framed picture of a boy about his age, hugging a woman as young and as beautiful as his own mother, is in Old Man Gilbert's hand. He is sitting all alone in a green rocking chair, looking at peeling paint on an empty wall.
Dashing home, Trey holds nothing in his hands and everything in his heart. Breathless, he stops at his mother's lovely daffodil garden. Something compels him to pick a bouquet of the prettiest daffodils and to leave them at Mr. Gilbert's door. Mom says daffodils represent friendship. Oh, how Mr. Gilbert needs a friend! He seems so lonely.
During the afternoon church service, Pastor Rick teaches about "Saul's Transformation on the Road to Damascus." He ends by asking everyone to take a minute to write the name of a person that they know who, like Saul, needs a change of heart. He then asks that each person pray for that person to change.
Trey writes, Please pray for Mr. Gilbert. Knowing there is strength in numbers, he passes the paper to each family member. He then crosses his hands over his heart to signal that truth and love are in his request; then bows his head in prayer for Mr. Gilbert.
On the way home, Trey shares what he saw through Mr. Gilbert's window. He then asks, "Why is Mr. Gilbert so mean, especially to Christians?"
"Some years ago, Old Man Gilbert ... I mean Mr. Gilbert, joined a church that strayed from the teachings of Jesus Christ. Everything ended very badly for Mr. Gilbert, the church, and his family. Sadly, he became bitter, calling all Christians hypocrites and refusing to accept the true Christ," explains Mr. Stephens.
Arriving home, the family is surprised to see Mr. Gilbert standing awkwardly near their drive way, holding a bouquet of yellow daffodils. By his feet is Trey's new ball.
"Hello, folks," he says softly.
Everyone stood speechless for a long moment.
"Hi, Mr. Gilbert. I see you found the flowers I left for you today!"
"It's been a long, long time since someone has given me anything so beautiful." He clears his throat and says, "Been cleaning all afternoon to make a place in my home that won't dirty them up. Made me realize it's not just my house in need of cleaning ... my life too."
Trey joyfully says, "Mr. Gilbert, don't you worry about a thing!" You've got God and the Stephens family now to help you!"
"Yes, you have us, Mr. Gilbert!" Trey's parents and Winnie echo their support in words and smiles.
As Trey looks at his mother's bright, yellow daffodils, he softly says: Mom, it was a bright light that changed Saul, and your bright, yellow daffodils made a change in Mr. Gilbert. Can we call your garden, Daffodils of Damascus?"
Excerpted from "Daffodils of Damascus"
Copyright © 2019 Beverly Boone.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.