Tears, Dustbunnies & Sticky Blue Popsicles

Lynch McNicol Thrall Image

Lucie was four years old and had one major goal in life: to be Wonder Woman. (In the late 80s/early 90s, what little girl didn’t have that aspiration?) Meanwhile, her five year old brother, Charlie, had quite a different goal in life: to torture Lucie.

Even though they were a year apart in age, the little red-heads looked like twins and as much as Charlie hated it, Lucie followed him around everywhere and wanted to do everything he did. He was tired of it and always looked for a good opportunity to get back at Lucie for her clinginess.

One day, a golden opportunity presented itself and the little boy just couldn’t pass it up. Looking out the window, Charlie noticed his sister running around the backyard in her Wonder Woman Underoos with a bath-towel cape draped around her shoulders. He knew what he had to do.

“Lucie! Lucie! Come here! I know how to make you fly like Wonder Woman!” Charlie ran out the back door and down the steps.

Lucie raced over to meet him, her long red ponytail bobbing up and down. Charlie looked over both shoulders to make sure they were alone, and then leaning close, he whispered, “If you let me cut your hair, then you will be able to fly!”

The trusting little girl smiled from ear to ear, nodding her head and was fairly jumping up and down. “Okay, Charlie! You can cut my hair!”

Charlie sneaked into the house and found his mom’s scissors. Then, he led his little sister back behind the shed and gleefully gave her a very thorough haircut. When the last of the red hair had fluttered to the grass, he put the scissors down and smiled.

Lucie didn’t head to the bathroom to look in the mirror. She ran straight for the picnic table on the back patio, climbed up on the seat, and then the table top. And then, making sure her towel/cape was fastened securely to her shoulders, Lucie ran down the length of the table and jumped into the air with all her strength.

Charlie saw the handwriting on the wall. Before Lucie was in mid-air, he had abandoned her and the scissors and headed for his bedroom. By the time his mother heard the tearful screams, Charlie was as far back under his bed as he could get.

For an interminable amount of time, he waited under there with dustbunnies threatening to choke him. Too scared to cry. He knew that he was in more trouble than he’d ever been in his short life. He heard Lucie’s cries, his Mom’s stressed-out voice, and then the garage door opening and closing as his Dad came home. Finally, he heard his bedroom door open and heard his bed creak above him as someone sat down.

“I wish I could find Charlie.” He heard Dad’s low voice. “I wonder where he’s hiding.”

Charlie couldn’t stop the sob that came out of his throat.

“I wish I could find Charlie. I’ll bet he’s really scared.”

The tears really started to come then. Charlie tried to smush his face into the carpet to muffle them, but it didn’t work. And before he could even think, he heard Dad’s voice closer to him. He looked carefully and saw that his Dad was kneeling on the carpet with the edge of the blanket pulled back, watching his son.

“I’m glad I found you. Would you like to come out and talk to me?”

He hesitated for a moment. Wouldn’t Daddy be mad? But his voice was so calm. So, Charlie skooched out from under the bed and sat on the floor next to Daddy.

“You know that you hurt your sister today, don’t you?”

Charlie stared at the floor and nodded.

“And you know that I’m going to have to punish you, don’t you?”

Charlie nodded again.

“Are you ready to apologize to your sister?”

Another nod.

Nothing could’ve prepared Charlie for what he saw when he walked into the kitchen with his Dad. For his sister—with a shorn head, two black eyes, and missing front teeth—was sitting on the kitchen floor, grinning from ear to ear and eating a blue popsicle. When Charlie walked in, Lucie jumped and ran to him, throwing her sticky, blue arms around him. And before he could open his mouth to apologize, his sister started laughing and shouted, “Charlie, didja see me? I flew!”

It’s been about five years since I wrote that story. It’s based on a true story, about a couple of kids I knew when I was growing up. But the Dad character has always been my favorite part of that story. Because that was the kind of Dad – and Heavenly Father – I wanted. Don’t get me wrong – I have a great Dad. I love my Dad. But I always wanted a Dad who would speak calmly instead of yelling and who would listen to me instead of telling me how much I’d disappointed him. And while that’s a tough thing to manage as a parent, that’s exactly the kind of father my Heavenly Father is.

The story about Lucie and Charlie is fiction. But the story of Adam and Eve is true. They did the one thing God had told them not to do and then they ran and hid. But because He’s a good God (and a good Dad), He came looking for them. He talked to them and when they talked back, He listened (even though He already knew their answer and knew it was lame). He was disappointed, but He understood, and He forgave them.

The last two weeks, we’ve been reading The Cure. And in Chapter 1, the part that absolutely captivated me was this passage:

“Before, God was always ‘over there,’ on the other side of my sin, obscured by the mound of trash between us. But now I realize He’s here, with me….All of the pain, regret, and damage of my life is laid out in front of me. All that has caused shame and condemnation. All that has caused me to pretend and impress and yearn for control. All that has broken my heart and His. But now I’m viewing it with Jesus’ arm around me! He’s been holding me with utter delight, all with my sin right here in our midst, never allowing it between us. He wants to know me in the midst of this, not when I get it cleaned up.”

Today, I know that I’m not perfect. I’ve hurt people in my life. I’ve hurt myself. I’ve hurt God. But I don’t have to wait until I’m spit-shined and polished for God to love me. He loves me and forgives me when I’m covered in tears and dustbunnies and the remnants of sticky blue popsicle, because that’s Who He Is. I just need to trust Him enough to let Him.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on “The Cure” by Lynch, McNicol, & Thrall. You do not have to read the book to weigh in on the discussion. If you have written a response to this chapter, though, make sure to go link it up at the widget you’ll find at my friend and co-facilitator, Jason’s place.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Good one Sista Sarah… Thanks for sharing.. That God..that He is God…Or where would any of us be.

  2. Amen. I was reading that thinking, “I’ve read this before somewhere.” I’m glad I’m not crazy. 🙂 And it’s amazing to me how that simple idea has transformed my own thinking–that God is not on the other side of my mess looking at me disapprovingly, but that we face it together. It’s so powerful! That’s one of the things in this book that has really made a lasting imprint on me. He’s so good! Thank you, Sarah.

  3. I’m bummed that I’m missing this book discussion! I just got back to blogging.

    What a tear jerker of a post! Great job Sarah.
    I want (and thankfully have) a Daddy like that- God!
    But I also want to be a parent like that and I know it’s only through Christ that I can be like that.

    I love that God doesn’t allow anything to come between us. That’s true forgiveness. As Christians we need to show that same type of forgiveness with others. So hard to do, but thankfully we don’t have to do it on our own.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    TC, you’re welcome here any time that you can make it here to chat! 🙂

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