The little boy arrived home from school to find an empty house. “Good,” he thought, “Mom and Dad aren’t home yet.” He rushed upstairs to his parents’ bedroom. The door was closed and he hesitated for a short moment with his small hand on the doorknob. There was no rule preventing him from entering this room, but there was nevertheless a feeling of reverence that swept over him. He slowly turned the knob and gingerly entered the bedroom.
The scent of his parents was in this room. He could smell the intermingled aroma of Old Spice and Pall Mall. His father didn’t smoke much in the bedroom, but the smell of his cigarette smoke was always there. Combined with the Old Spice, it was masculine and comforting because it was the smell of his father.
He stepped deliberately toward his mother’s dresser. The delicate fragrance of Chanel #5 lingered about it, and he visualized her reflection in the large mirror as she placed a small drop from the bottle onto her fingertip and dabbed the alluring potion on the soft skin of her neck just below her ear. One side, then the other.
He quickly spotted the reason for his undertaking and focused his attention on the small chest on the dresser. It was a glossy black-lacquered box adorned with hand-painted oriental scenes which made it appear somewhat mystical to the young boy. There were three lids on the box. The center lid was the largest and opened from the front. There was a key that locked this lid, but it remained in the keyhole and was seldom locked. There were two smaller lids that opened out on the left and right.
With anticipation the boy slowly raised the large lid and as it opened a shelf inside lifted simultaneously. And then a smile came to his face. When the lid was fully opened and the shelf had reached its pinnacle, the most wondrous thing happened. Music began to play, and at the same time a small figurine of a ballet dancer dressed in a delicate white tutu began her dance upon the raised shelf.
Round and round she would go while the music softly played. She smiled at the young boy standing mesmerized by her enchanting performance. Three mirrors on the inside of the lid reflected her presentation, two on either side angled slightly so the image was multiplied and enhanced the delightful display.
As the music slowed, so did the tiny dancer. But the boy knew the secret to making her dance was a small winder on the bottom of the box, so she would never wind down and he could listen and watch until his parents came home.
Today I reflect on that marvelous box that held me in wonder so many times as a child. I don’t know what became of it, but I still go there in my memories to a time when a tiny dancer smiled at me and delightfully performed to her music.
The sensory pleasure coupled with the mystery of the box itself brought me back to that room time and time again. In fact, I can’t recall any other fascination in my childhood that elicited comparable feelings.
As an adult, I feel almost silly expressing such reflections, but I do so for your benefit, because I have recaptured this same phenomenon in my later years of life. It is not derived from a dancing figurine as in my childhood, but the same feelings of awe and wonder and delight are aroused.
Where, you may ask, have I found such a treasure? And finding such, why would any man let it go by telling another? I have no fear of losing this wondrous gift, for it is free to any that will search for it. But be forewarned – once obtained, you can’t let it slip away. I find my fortune in no particular place, yet I find it anywhere I choose, for I keep it hidden within myself, in the deep part of my heart.
It is Fellowship. Deep. Intimate. Loving. My God and I. His voice is gentle and firm. I search His heart and savor every word. I delight in His presence and get lost in His love. Yahweh is my God, and in Him alone I place my trust. He is my refuge and my strength; my song and my salvation. He awaits my entrance. I enter His sanctuary and open my heart to Him. When life deals crushing blows, I thrust myself into His comforting arms and He heals my wounds. In His presence I laugh and I cry and I cast my cares upon Him.
As the deer pants longingly for the water brooks, so my soul pants longingly for You, O God.– Psalm 42:1
As a young boy was delighted by a treasure from his youth, now an old man delights in a treasure far greater than any earthly indulgence.