Sitting on a bed of pea gravel with crossed legs, I gazed across our broken pond. This pond is a water feature that has been broken since long before CVYR bought this property in 2015. To the untrained eye, a broken pond can seem worthless. It takes the imagination and adventure of a child to discover the excitement within a broken water feature. With the right perspective, something broken can be of great value.

            My eyes followed a young 10-year-old girl who wore a shirt declaring “I Was Born To Sparkle” across the front. Fitting this declaration, pink sparkles were perfectly placed to reflect the sun. Ashley had uncombed sandy brown hair cut to her shoulders, paired with loose black leggings. She had now traded her multi-colored high-top shoes for oversized mud boots. (When I say “oversized,” I mean her child’s size 4 feet were now inside men’s size 10 mud boots.) She had a blue fishnet in her hand as she waded through the shin deep water, and the men’s mud boots reached all the way up to her knees. This water was left over from the rain we’d recently had; it was mucky, nasty, and occasionally emitted an odor.

            I sat nearby with a jar full of the mucky pond water, awaiting the little goldfish that probably would not get caught. Our Director, Aaron, had planted goldfish in this little broken pond, and it was Ashley’s goal to catch one. Occasionally, the silt stirred up by Ashley’s boots would clear just enough to reveal a quick flash of gold. Each occurrence would bring a newfound excitement and determination to “catch one of those little suckers.” (It was rare for her to emerge from the pond, but when she did, I had to fight my laughter because those big, manly boots were on the wrong feet!)

“I think I see some over there,” I said.

“Shhhhh,” she practically yelled, “they might hear you!”

The warm sun blanketed my back as I watched this young kid be exactly who she is – a kid. All of a sudden, she declared, “I got one!”

            Sure enough, there was a piece of gold flopping around within the fine blue netting. “Well, hurry up and put him in the jar!” I replied. Ashley quickly waded over and plopped him into the jar. I was pretty impressed that she had managed to catch one.

            She wasted no time in returning to her hunt, and she pursued those little goldfish for nearly half of our session. By the time our session was drawing towards a close, she had four pretty little goldfish amidst the muck in that jar!

“What are their names?” I asked.

            After about a millisecond of thought, Ashley replied, “Frisk… Chara… Papyrus… and Sans!” Even at the peak of my creativity, no way could I have come up with names that fast. Ashley is a precious one. After our session ended, I released the goldfish back into that broken pond where several more kids enjoyed them later that week. When our next session together came around, Ashley remembered each of their names.

            Jesus absolutely loved children, and He often spoke of them.  He once said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 18:3). Jesus also taught that “The kingdom of Heaven is like what happens when someone finds a treasure hidden in a field… Such a person is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that field.”  (Matthew 13:44)

*Child’s name was changed due to confidentiality

Jazmine Shannon

Jazmine Shannon

Co-written by Stephanie Miller-Lacy