Sacha, my two-year-old grand-daughter, and her baby brother, Llewellyn, lived with their parents in Lesotho, a small African country located inside South Africa. One day their parents went to South Africa on a shopping expedition, and I had the children to myself for the day.
I put the baby down for a nap and sat Sacha on a pile of cushions on a chair at the dining-room table. I took out my collection of rubber stamps and ink pads and gave her some scrap paper and a few small stamps. Soon we were happily creating colorful designs.
Some time later, the baby started to cry. I moved everything out of Sacha's reach, leaving her with one stamp and one ink pad. I gave her a clean piece of paper.
“Make something special for Mommy and Daddy," I said. "Don't move until I get back, okay?'
Her red curls bounced as she nodded. Her forehead puckered and her tongue peeked out from between her lips as she concentrated on inking the stamp.
I changed the baby quickly and hurried back to the table with him in my arms. Sacha, her cheeks flushed, was scrambling back onto her chair.
"Sacha, what did you do?" I asked.
"Nuffing," she assured me. Then to be sure I understood, she added, "I didn't stamp under the table!"
I put the baby down and dropped to my knees. Sure enough, the underside of the table was brightly decorated with small red hearts.
Sacha watched me anxiously for a moment then said, "I did make something special for Mommy and Daddy."
I gathered her in my arms and explained it would have been much better if she'd done it on the paper. At the same time, I gave grateful thanks that she had done it under the table and not on the polished surface.
My little granddaughter didn't mean to confess, but had she not told me, she would probably have felt guilty because she knew the hearts were there, even if I didn't. Isn't that true of us? We think we can hide the things we've done that we shouldn't have, but we know they're there. And of course so does God. Sometimes it is good to tell others of the times when we've done something impulsive, something wrong.
As writers, there is often healing for others when we're able to say, "I did this, and it was wrong." Not only is confession good for us, but sometimes--and perhaps only sometimes--it can be encouraging for others.
SHIRLEY CORDER lives in South Africa with her husband, a hyperactive budgie called Sparky, and an ever expanding family of tropical fish. She is contributing author to nine books to date and hundreds of her inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published internationally. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer is due for release in the USA later this year. You can contact Shirley through her writing website, her Rise and Soar cancer site, or follow her on Twitter.