Once upon a time my daughter's computer was not working right and my tech-wiz younger brother couldn't come soon enough to fix it. Each night something else crashed. Finally, one night my daughter cried and cried. Worried because she rarely cried, I kissed the top of her head lightly, reminding her of how her uncle had always helped in the past. She was not to be consoled, moved to her bed, curled up almost in a fetal position, still sobbing. She was twelve or thirteen and I had forgotten what complex pre-teen emotions were about to unfold.
This was not about her computer crashing. I sat down, knowing her knees had been hurting more since school started again. I tickled the back of her knees and she giggled. I called her little brothers in to help tickle around her neck. They smelled sweet from the bath and were in happy cartoon footie pajamas. Dinosaurs and trucks.
Within minutes, my daughter was laughing. Then I got Tylenol and toast fingers, and a glass of milk into her and let her stay up a little later doing a new Korean type of origami, a small puzzle from Christmas while listening to the Pillar of Fire radio station.
When I went in to say goodnight, she said that the topic was perseverance through suffering and there was a funny story about a church that tried "to spread the gospel" by baking cakes to give to new people in their town. The cakes said "YOU'RE A SINNER" on them and the radio pastor commented that there were probably better ways to spread the gospel.