Two-year-old Silas stood awaiting his sentence. Someone had committed a crime against household harmony, and he had no alibi. In fact, the Judge had seen Silas do it. Whoever said “Justice is blind” was crazy, he thought. I think Justice has eyes in the back of her head. And she did.
Things were not looking good for two-year-old Silas.
He stared at the floor and shifted his weight nervously. But for the crackling of his diaper, the room was silent with the weight of impending judgment. Silas could feel two blue eyes bearing down upon his blonde little head. He knew his mother was considering his crime and calculating the penalty. He knew this because he was two years old, and this sort of thing happened every ten minutes.
He looked up. For just an instant he met the blue eyes. Then he tried to look away, but their intensity held him against his will. With all his might he strained to look elsewhere. His diaper crackled furiously. But that penetrating gaze, coupled with his immanent punishment, paralyzed him. So he stood and he stared.
And then curiosity overcame two-year-old Silas. For this time something was different about the blue eyes. Somehow they seemed to be gathering light around the edges, or leaking it out. They sat upon softer cheekbones and under a brighter brow.
They looked as if they knew a secret.
Then Silas saw the slightest bending of lips. His eyes widened. Could it be? Might he receive kindness instead of wrath? Would mercy somehow trump judgment?
Silas was well acquainted with judgment. He knew it was what he deserved. But what if he didn’t get what he deserved? Two-year-old Silas dared to dream that such a thing was possible.
The blue eyes saw the child’s hope, and they twinkled all the more. For behind them was the memory of a million Sacred Surprises: men dropping stones at an adulteress’s feet. Dead things made alive. Old things made new. Enemies adopted as sons.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.
Silas watched his mother’s lips curve and break into a merciful smile. Where his cheeks had been splotched with shame a moment before, they now flushed pink with relief and gratitude.
This early seed of mercy settled into the furrow of Silas’s heart, preparing a future harvest. And Silas, who had not yet learned how to be unaffected by such things, melted into a pile of bubbling, tumbling giggles. Two-year-old Silas laughed so long and so hard that his brown eyes filled with tears.
And the blue eyes did too.
- Dear Daughter: On Outrage and its Remedy - June 20, 2022
- Rodents, Romans, and Chiaroscuro:Why We Love The Tale of Despereaux - August 28, 2019
- Rodents, Romans, and Chiaroscuro:Why We Love The Tale of Despereaux - November 15, 2017
Melissa Cutrera says
Silas “had not yet learned to be unaffected by such things” – great line. I wonder how many times I receive mercy and fail to fall over laughing, either because I haven’t thought about the judgment I deserve or because I just don’t appreciate the value of grace. Great post, Alyssa!
Alyssa Ramsey says
Thanks, Melissa! “Fail to fall over laughing” is a great way to put it. Those kiddos have a way of reminding us how much we have to unlearn.
Josh Bishop says
Just moments ago, I read the following passage from Watership Down. It reminded me of this post (which I read earlier this morning) and of the good news that God is making all things new. Everything sad is coming untrue.
“Here is a boy who was waiting to be punished. But then, unexpectedly, he
finds that his fault has been overlooked or forgiven and at once the
world reappears in brilliant colors, full of delightful prospects. Here
is a soldier who was waiting, with a heavy heart, to suffer and die in
battle. But suddenly the luck has changed. There is news! The war is
over and everyone bursts out singing! He will go home after all! The
sparrows in the plowland were crouching in terror of the kestrel. But
she has gone; and they fly pell-mell up the hedgerow, frisking,
chattering and perching where they will. The bitter winter had all the
country in its grip. The hares on the down, stupid and torpid with cold,
were resigned to sinking further and further into the freezing heart of
snow and silence. But now—who would have dreamed it?—the thaw is
trickling, the great tit is ringing his bell from the top of a bare lime
tree, the earth is scented; and the hares bound and skip in the warm
wind. Hopelessness and reluctance are blown away like a fog and the dumb
solitude where they crept, a place desolate as a crack in the ground,
opens like a rose and stretches to the hills and the sky.”
Amen, and amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Alyssa Ramsey says
Thanks so much for coming back to share that, Josh. Watership Down is one of the hundreds of books I know I should have read, but haven’t (yet). But this passage just sent chills all over me. Awesome.
SD Smith says
I’m a big Alyssa Ramsey fan. Well said.