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Hidden Joy

1. The Mask

 

When Charlie woke up, he remembered his dream.  It was like a lot of the dreams he had recently.  He heard once that it was a good idea to write down your dreams so you would not forget them.  Charlie could not think of any reason why he would want to remember the dreams he had.  He wanted to forget them.

 

On the way to school Charlie started having sad feelings, kinda like the boy in the story that Grandpa shared with him and his friends.  But this had nothing to do with someone sacrificing for him or an accident.  Charlie said to himself that he was ok.  His life was good and he had lots of friends.  Some of his friends were a bit goofy, like Larry, but he still liked them.

 

Just before Charlie went into the school building, Larry caught up to him.

 

Larry laughed when he saw Charlie, and said, “You don’t look very happy today.  Anything wrong?”

 

Charlie completely missed the joke.  He responded quietly, “Nah.  I am ok.  Just didn’t sleep very well.”

 

Larry asked, “Did you have another one of those strange dreams last night?  You really haven’t shared very much about them.  Are they scary?”

 

Charlie dismissed the question, “We need to get to class.”

 

Such was the response any time Larry tried to reach the “inner Charlie”.   It seemed to Larry that Charlie was more like Albert in Grandpa’s story than he wanted to admit.

 

Larry kept remembering the phrase from the story, “but there were some emotions hiding inside”. Larry couldn’t seem to get it out of his mind.  The more he thought about it, the more he started to think that Grandpa had shared that story mostly for Charlie.  Did Grandpa know more about Charlie than he did?

 

That night at the dinner table, Larry asked his parents if they understood Charlie.

 

Larry asked, “So, why is Charlie always so droopy?  He isn’t as much fun as he used to be.  Charlie doesn’t laugh at my jokes anymore.”

 

Larry’s mom and dad weren’t the huggie types, but they showed their love a lot, and they would give Larry and Lisa a hug once in a while when they really needed it.

 

What Larry appreciated the most was that his mom and dad were always available to talk.  They often put aside what they were doing to comfort their children in their time of need.

 

Mr. Lewis responded, “It is hard to know what is going on inside someone’s heart.  Sometimes a person is still hurt from what was said, or perhaps a disappointment, or a great loss that is hard to accept.  Larry, it is good that you have compassion for your friend.  Jesus was like that.   He saw the people like sheep without a shepherd.  Charlie is probably feeling lost.”

 

Larry said, “Why doesn’t Charlie want to talk to his friends about it?  It seems like he put on a mask to keep us from seeing the hurt on his face.”

 

Mrs. Lewis encouraged Larry, “You need to allow Charlie to share when he is ready.  By being a good friend, you are showing God’s love to him.  Holy Spirit will help you reach out without making Charlie feel pressured.”

 

Larry said, “That’s hard!  I don’t want to mess up and make Charlie shut up completely.  But I will trust the leading of Holy Spirit.”

 

Just before he went to sleep, Larry prayed for his friend, “Jesus, help me to continue to be a good friend to Charlie.  I know he is having a hard time dealing with something.  I don’t know what it is, but you do.  I am believing that Charlie will ask you for help.  Thank you for answering my prayer.  Amen.”

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