I'll never forget the little red vacuum cleaner; it sits quietly in the back corner of Madalyn's closet now as I cannot bring myself to throw it out or donate it.
In the weeks proceeding Christmas of 2001, I had - oh, I mean Santa had - all the gifts purchased and either wrapped or hidden carefully for the exciting day. I forget what all was on the list that year - seems like we had a big easel with dry erase board on one side and chalkboard on the other, all the corresponding accessories such as chalk and markers and eraser, and then there was the Power Ranger merchandise that any almost four-year-old boy just could not do without. With only two weeks to go, David developed a new passion for one particular item in the Lillian Vernon catalogue - a little red vacuum cleaner that looked identical to a Red Devil. He just had to have it, and it made absolutely no sense to me or his father.
I talked to him about Santa, as I still do, telling him that no one child can ever have all the things they want. I also tried to convince him that he had no need for a little red vacuum cleaner - what would he do with that? It didn't shoot missiles or make cool sounds like typical little boy toys. He was not buying it, and every time anyone asked what he wanted Santa to bring, the red vacuum cleaner was the first thing to come out of his mouth.
So, I did what any good mother would do - I rushed out at the last minute and purchased the vacuum cleaner so he'd have his most desired item on Christmas morning. What's another twenty bucks even though the budget was tight that first Christmas with two kiddos?
That Christmas morning, it was the first thing he saw. And he vacuumed his little heart out all day. And every day there after for the longest time. It's what he wanted, it's what he asked for, and so he got it.
Yesterday, I thought of that little red vacuum cleaner when I read the following scripture in chapter seven of the book of Matthew:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
I guess, in my weakness and immaturity of faith, I often times forget that God is my Heavenly Father. That He made me, that He desires me to be happy and whole, and that His hopes and dreams and love for me far surpass the hopes and dreams and love I feel for my own children. Because the big difference between being a Heavenly Father and an earthly one is that when your child asks for something as silly as a little red vacuum cleaner, the Heavenly Father knows exactly why the child wants it, how many times it will be used, and how big the smile on the face of that child will be in exact centimeters when he sees it for the first time on Christmas morning. The earthly father remains baffled and confused by the seemingly strange request.
So, that just blew my mind a little when I read it and let it all sink in. I know the joy I got out of that weird purchase for my little boy. I know the joy I felt when I watched him play with it. I know the strong attachment I feel to the little red vacuum cleaner - so strong that I don't think I will ever let it go. And yet I doubt my Father can give me the simplest of things I need to make it through each day.
He is perfect. He knows my heart. He knows my motives, dreams, desires. It's about time for me to have some faith. I guess it's time for me to make a wish list of my own and believe it will all be provided. That it already is...