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Puzzle Pieces

1. The Visitor


It was another beautiful spring morning. The sun was shining, it was a light breeze, and the temperature was in the mid 70s.


After breakfast, Lisa walked out into the backyard and sat on the bench. This had been a really peaceful place for her recently. She was actually very surprised that sitting on this bench and looking out toward the mountains was the place that inspired her for the drawing that she submitted to the school fair.


She was thinking that it was not like sitting on a bench was somehow magical or mysterious. It’s just being in the place where she was supposed to be. Lisa was starting to realize that, but she didn’t understand what it meant. After all, she was just a young girl about to be seven years old. What does she know? Most adults would say that it’s nice for her to think and imagine, but that’s about all it is. They say, ‘That’s what kids do.’ But not Lisa!


Lisa closed her eyes. She didn’t think there was much of a breeze, but it seemed to pick up a little bit. She could hear the birds singing. She could smell the fresh air. But there was something else. What was it?


Lisa wasn’t one to pray a lot. She wasn’t even really sure why she needed to pray to God. After all, God knows everything. He even knows what she is thinking before she asks Him anything or talks to Him. So why say anything? But the Bible say that God loves his children to talk to Him.


Still with her eyes closed, Lisa started talking to God.


She said, “Good morning, Lord. This is a very beautiful morning you gave me. Thank you for allowing me to sit and observe your creation.”


Lisa knew there was more she wanted to say to God, but some thoughts kept popping back in her mind that were distracting her. She was remembering when her family first moved into this house. She wasn’t sure she really wanted to live here, or go to the new school where there are a lot of people she didn’t know.


But somehow she got through it all. And now she’s sitting here in this beautiful yard with God’s beautiful creation speaking to her. She just felt like she needed to speak back a little bit. Not to creation, but to the Creator.


She said, “What would you like me to do today? When we were having breakfast, my family was talking about having a picnic today. That sounds like a really good idea. I guess I don’t need to ask you. You’ve already told us. But what else?“


Lisa sat there for a little bit longer. Then she decided to go into the house.


It really was a very beautiful day. About noon, the family started putting things on the picnic table in their back yard. Mr. Lewis started up the grill to make the hamburgers. Mrs. Lewis asked the kids to bring out some more things to the picnic table.


As Mr. Lewis was cooking the hamburgers, Mrs. Lewis was interacting with her children.


Mrs. Lewis said, “Lisa, did God say anything to you this morning while you were sitting out here?“


Lisa replied, “I think so. But I’m not really sure. I didn’t actually hear a voice. But something was happening when the breeze was blowing in my face. It was like God was touching me with his gentle, loving hand.”


Mrs. Lewis said, “That’s beautiful!“


Larry was looking at some bugs on the bench. He said “Mom, why did God create bugs? Just so I could have fun looking at them?”


Mrs. Lewis said, “I’m not really sure, but there probably was another reason that God created the bugs. Maybe you should ask Him.“


It seemed that Larry was not paying attention to his Mom’s response. Then everybody realized why.


A dog had walked around the side of the house into the backyard. Larry put his hand down, and said, “Come here, boy.”


The dog walked over to where the family was sitting at the picnic table. The dog sniffed Larry’s hand and realized that he was friendly.


Mr. Lewis turned around and said, “Who is your friend? I don’t think I’ve seen this dog before. And I don’t think he has a collar on.”


Lisa looked at the dog and wondered whether the dog had anything to do with an answer to her prayer this morning. If so, she was thinking it was a bit of a stretch. But it’s not like she really understood God well enough to say that it wasn’t from God.


Larry looked at the dog and said, “Just for fun, I think we should give the dog a name. What name should we give him?”


Lisa said, “Well, don’t name the dog Frank. We know what kind of trouble you got in when you decided to use a name similar to Frank’s in one of your stories. Right?”


Larry responded, “Yeah. That’s not a very good name for this dog anyway. He doesn’t look like a Frank.”


Lisa said, “I’m also thinking that the name Charlie is probably not a very good name either. Because Grandpa had a dog named Charlie. It might bring back some sad memories for him if there’s a dog running around and people are calling it Charlie all the time.“


Mr. Lewis said, “I think we should name the dog, Sam. He looks like a Sam dog to me.“


Mrs. Lewis responded, “What does a Sam dog look like? Well, that’s a nice name. I agree. Let’s call him Sam. But we do need to try to figure out where he belongs. He didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Kids, would you ask around to see if anybody knows who this dog belongs to?”


Mr. Lewis agreed, “Yes. He is a nice dog, but we can’t keep him. I am sure his family is missing him.”


Larry responded, “I’ll check around with some of my friends. I guess you will too, Lisa. We need to make sure this dog gets back home safely. But in the meantime, Sam, come here.“


Sam wasn’t sure who was going to give him a snack until he heard Larry call him. It was like he knew that he had a new name. The dog walked over to Larry. The dog just sat there patiently. Mr. Lewis brought the hamburgers over to the picnic table. When Larry got his, he took a little piece of the cooked meat and dropped it on the ground next to Sam, the dog. The dog ate it quickly.


After a few minutes, Sam ran away before they could figure out how to hold him.


Larry said loudly, “Come back anytime you want to, Sam. We’re going to try to find out where your family is.”

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