But I was completely taken aback when a young mother and her 4 or 5-year-old daughter came in together and the little girl’s attention seemed drawn to my small stack of books. As she kept walking past my display, her head turned as far as it could, almost as if she was trying to read the writing on the poster.
I thought that was just too cute. She made me smile. She turned the corner into the children’s section and was gone. In less than 30 minutes she and her mother were walking past my display again. Her mom didn’t seem to notice us but the little girl took another long, fascinating look at my books on the table. Again, I smiled. How cute.
Less than 15 minutes later the mother and her little daughter were heading toward the lobby to check out the books they had chosen. I suddenly heard the little girl say, “I want that book, Momma.” Her mom was silent.
“I want that book, Momma!” the little girl said with surprising force. Her mom still ignored her. “Momma, I want that book! I want that book! I want that BOOK, Momma!!”
People were turning around, smiling. My wife, Linda, and I were smiling, but I could hardly believe what I was hearing as we looked on in surprise.
All of a sudden, the little girl dropped to the floor and started kicking and screaming, “I want that book, momma! I want that book!!!”
My jaw dropped and my eyes bulged! Am I seeing this? I turned to Linda who was just as wide-eyed and shocked. Her mom was trying to get her little daughter up without making a further scene. She was saying, ‘No, you’re not getting that book’ but her little girl kept shouting louder and louder, “I WANT THAT BOOK!”
Her mom finally snatched her up and whispered something sharp to the little girl and the child composed herself rather quickly. I turned to Linda with a Cheshire cat smile across my face. Somehow I felt responsible and involved.
I found the nerves to call out to the mother waiting in line with her daughter and said, “Ma’am? Ma’am?” The young lady looked my way.
“If she wants one of these books she can have one. I’ll give it to her,” I said.
The mother smiled, got out of line with her little girl and headed our way. “Honey, you want that book? Get it,” she said.
The little girl walked our way and said, “Not THAT book!” She pointed back into the children’s section. “I want THIS book!” she said, running off into the other room!
Wow! It was like getting hit in the face with a whipped cream pie! I instinctively started laughing, although I really wanted to find a hole I could fall into. It was humbling. Was I thinking too much of myself?
I could not help but recall the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said at Luke 14:8-11, “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place.
“Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.” — Common English Version.
As I sat there without a single person in line for my book, I started to feel inadequate. I asked myself why would anyone want to purchase this collection of my columns? What’s the big deal anyway? I'm nobody.
At that moment, the little girl got out of line with her mom and approached me. For the first time she was looking at me. She came all the way up to my table, put her little right hand on a stack of my books and started to ease one off the top. Her eyes were looking into mine the entire time as she slid the book into her arms.
“Can she have it?” her mother shouted.
I smiled. “Sure!” I replied. The little girl then ran back to her mom’s side and they left. In my heart I had already given the little girl my book. But she had also given me something — a valuable reminder not to make assumptions or take myself too seriously and to always be humble.
Jesus said it best at Matthew 18:2-4, “Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” — Common English Bible.
*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more than 100 Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.