Here’s something a little different than what I usually write. I had read something cool, had a thought, so here we are. Enjoy.
“Hey, Gabe! Come out, come out! I have a present for you!” Mom called down the hall.
A freckled face with sandy hair popped out a doorway, noticeably brightened by the word “present.”
“Is this another present for my birthday?! Even though I already turned nine last week?!”
Mom grinned. “Mmmm, kinda. You know how you had a boat theme for your birthday because you love boats so much?” Mom continued to grin like she knew something Gabe didn’t. Which she did.
“Of course! You were there, remember? Obviously, you do.”
“Yes, I do. Obviously. And if you keep using your big words to show how many big words you know, people might not like it very much, remember? Use them…”
“To make people happy. Yeah, I remember.” Stretching his hands behind his back, Gabe asked, “So what’s the present?”
“Right. Here you go, cap’n.”
Squinting at Mom, he took the bag, ripped out the blue tissue paper and gasped. Dropping the bag with a papery plop and quickly drawing out a crisp, white and black sea captain’s hat, Gabe’s eyes locked on his new shiny treasure.
And shiny it was. The black brim shone, even beside the golden laurel lining its edges. The twin crossed anchors on the crown were also backed with black, as well as the golden stripes below which raced along its circumference. The hat was an adult size, but it had a strap in the back to adjust to Gabe’s larger-than-usual head size.
Taking the hat from his still unmoving hands, Mom did just that. She placed it on his head, swiping away some stray hair from his face and saluted. In his state of shock from having been given such a hat, Gabe didn’t even bother to readjust the hat on his head, as he normally would.
“So, there’s a special reason I’m giving you this hat.” Mom put her hand on her hip and tipped her head. “You know that book we always used to read about how Jesus is the captain of your ship? And how he tells us when it’s safe to go sailing and when we need to tie up our boat?”
“Yeah!” Gabe said, snapping out of his shock. “My favourite part was that if we couldn’t see him when it got foggy, we still knew he was there because of the ship’s bell. And did you know that it’s only called fog if you can’t see through it for more than 1,000 metres?”
“Uh, no, I couldn’t. Wow! That’s cool. But! Do you know what’s cooler? Hmmm? Do ya?” Mom drew out her syllables much more with those last few words.
“Well,” Mom’s tone dropped down as she continued. “Jesus actually bought each of us a captain’s hat already, except this one you can’t see – because it’s in your heart,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder, her thumb tapping the area above where she was talking about.
Her head tipped to the side, with her voice growing softer still. “And this hat he’s given you is really expensive. Not like the one I gave you because he spent his life on this one.”
Gabe’s head slowly tipped up and down, the black shiny brim catching the sun on each trip downwards.
“The hat in your heart-” Mom started.
“Is Jesus in our heart,” Gabe interrupted.
“Well, yeah, but this is a captain’s hat. Captains are important people, right? They tell ships where to go and make lots of huge decisions. Captains have to think a special way, right? Otherwise, they might crash into icebergs.”
“What kind of captain wouldn’t see an iceberg in front of the ship?!” Mom had her hand back at her side now that Gabe was wildly waving his around.
“I can think of at least one, but that’s not the point. The point is, when Jesus gave us each a captain’s hat, he gave us the special ability to think like him: to do what he would do, and not crash into icebergs. Or not do bad or mean things, and to do other good and nice things.”
“That’s what this hat means, Gabe. So when you wear it, remember that you can think like Jesus and choose to do things he would do. Got it?” Mom grinned as she grabbed the black brim and pulled it over his eyes.
“Mmmhmmm,” he said, nodding still with the hat over his eyes.
“Goofball. You’re going to crash into something like that,” Mom said, beginning to spin him in circles in the hallway.
“Not if you don’t let go!” Gabe yelled, giggling now.
“Well, I have to let go sometime. Okay, now stop. Yup, right there,” she said, taking his shoulders and planting him facing a certain way. “Okay, you’re good. Walk straight aaand…”
BAM! Gabe stepped straight into the wall.
“Hey!” Gabe said. Mom was already silently stepping away when Gabe turned and took the hat off his head, trying not to smile. “You’re my mom! You’re not supposed to do that!”
“Yeah, well, guess you should’ve asked Jesus where to go!” Mom said, stifling a laugh.
She stopped trying to sneak away and bolted around the corner of the hall with Gabe chasing after her, his captain’s hat still firmly on his head.