“An Afternoon in the Park.”

Below is one of my favorite stories. It is by Julie A. Manhan and originally appeared in A 3rd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink of his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling and never said a word.

As it grew dark the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own home, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.

She asked him: “What did you do today to make you so happy?”

He replied: “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added: “She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home.

Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked: “Mother, what did you do today that makes you so happy?”

She replied: “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But before her son responded, and added: “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

May the eyes of our faith allow us to see God in unexpected places.