Suffer the Little Children

Young kids are God’s gift to parents and to those who encounter them


Life Issues

After facilitating a Tuesday senior writing group in the San Marcos County Library, I attended a chess club session held in the same conference room. Four game boards were set up on card tables and eight competitors were playing chess across from each other. At the far end a young mother, hugging her infant, played chess with her six-year-old daughter. I knelt down to whisper into the child’s ear a hint for a chess move. The little girl was a curly blonde, blue-eyed charmer who kept whispering into my ear, asking for advice. Yes, I was guilty of kibitzing, but I couldn’t resist.

Her mother grinned over this cute exchange between an old man and her little angel. Their game was locked in a stalemate, but I saw a chance for the girl to checkmate her mother, and the game was over in minutes. I shook hands with the little girl. Her mother extended her hand with a smile, vigorously shook my hand, and thanked me for taking the time to play Grandpa for her daughter. She explained that both her grandparents lived far away, and I had briefly taken on that role.

The library featured an Irish folk dance session right after that, and soon the little girl had glitters stuck on her pink cheeks and a green topper hat with a shamrock stuck on the front. She spotted me in the crowd and ran up to show me her adornments, then twirled around showing me every detail.

I went home that day with a warm, hopeful feeling for humanity, but when I arrived to an empty house, with no one to greet me, I once again felt the pangs of being childless. In my youth, Christ had invited me to live alone in Him for others. I wept on realizing that little girl was God’s gift to her parents and to me for a few precious moments.


Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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