Pierre

I found out last Saturday that our church has hired two plain-clothed policeman to work while we worship. Oh, my. Really? This is serious.

–                       –                       –                       –

One of my favorite children’s books is called “Pierre: A Cautionary Tale.”

Maurice Sendak opens this little book with the words:  “There once was a boy named Pierre/Who only would say, ‘I don’t care!’ ”

When his mother says, “Good morning, darling boy, you are my only joy,” Pierre answers, “I don’t care.”

She asks “What would you like to eat? Some lovely cream of wheat?”

Pierre:  “I don’t care.”

M: “Don’t sit backwards in your chair. Or pour syrup in your hair.”

P: “I don’t care.”

M: “Stop acting like a clown. We have to go to town.”

P:  “I don’t care.”

M: “Would you rather stay right here?”

P:  “I don’t care.”

So his mother left him there.

His father tried to persuade Pierre to go to town, but in the end, “His parents left him there./They didn’t take him anywhere.”

I like that book so much. And this week I have been thinking: maybe Pierre is on to something.

Hearing about the Florida teenagers murdered for no reason.

I’d rather be Pierre. Sit backwards in my chair.

A dear friend took her last breath on Tuesday. Cancer won again.

I want to be Pierre. I wish I didn’t care.

Camp Langano in Ethiopia where we lived and worked for three years was closed indefinitely, along with the clinic and the school. Racial clashes. Many people have lost their lives in various protests this past year.

Oh, to be Pierre. To never go anywhere.

Natural disasters. War refugees. The sex-trafficked. The opioid epidemic. Abused, neglected, hungry, orphaned children. Lyme disease, migraines, kidney failures, mental illness, quadriplegics. Innocent men and women in prisons around the world.

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed.

Why can I not care like Pierre?

–                 –                       –                       –

On Sunday morning, I arrived at church early and there they were, the policemen, standing in the foyer.

Sometimes my mouth speaks before I think, and I blurted, “Oh, I just heard about you guys last night.”

“Well, I hope it was good,” the older one quipped.

“Well, actually it was disturbing to find out that we have hidden policemen in church. It is depressing me. Why . . .? and what if . . . ? and how . . .?” I blubbered out my concerns.

The policeman listened. And gently reminded me.

Times have changed.

These are difficult days.

“And why are you surprised?” he asked. “Jesus said there would be days like this.”

–                 –                       –                       –                       –

Sendak’s book has a great ending. Pierre has a Jonah-in-the-whale type conversion (You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.) and the moral of the story is: Care.

In times like these, when caring hurts, and I’m tempted to “sit backwards in my chair” and go nowhere, I want to remember:  Jesus has planned a great ending.

And until that day, in His name and by His grace and strength, it is a privilege to care.

 

 

 

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