Joseph—A Very Brave Person

 Joseph Anderson Donetti looked around the kitchen.

“Hurry up! I don’t want to lose my space!” G.M. called from outside.

Joseph grabbed the cooler that was setting on the kitchen counter. He didn’t want to go without lunch! He dashed out the back door and slammed it.

“Did you lock the door?” G.M. hollered out the truck window.

Whoops! Joseph turned around. He opened the door, locked it, and slammed it again. Then he leaped off the back porch and dashed across the grass, jumped into the seat, and slammed the truck door.

“I guess I could buy you a drum,” G.M. commented as she put the truck in reverse and backed out onto the street.

“What are you talking about?” Joseph asked, puzzled. Sometimes G.M.’s thinking was a little hard to follow.

“If you’re trying to make as much noise as possible, I’d rather have you bang on a drum than bang every door you go through,” G.M. answered with a little twinkle in her eye.

Joseph grinned. He settled back against the seat and rolled down his window. The sun was barely up, but it already shone with a bright golden glow that promised another hot day. The breeze felt good on Joseph’s face.

“Great! There’s a place to park!” G.M. swung the old truck into a parking space right at the edge of the museum lawn.

All kinds of artists were busily setting up their displays on the large grassy lawn. Potters carefully arranged beautiful vases, bowls, and plates on long wooden tables. Painters fastened portable walls together so they could hang up their best paintings. That was what Joseph was going to help G.M. do.

Joseph and G.M. lifted two of the heavy pegboards from the back of the truck. “Do you want to walk backward or foreword?” G.M. asked.

“Backwards, I guess,” Joseph answered, getting a better grip on the heavy load.

Joseph and G.M. carried the boards toward the spot G.M. had reserved for her display. It was slow going because G.M. had to greet all her friends along the way. And she knew practically everybody.

“Good morning, Pete! Hi, Tammy!”

“Morning, Maddie! How are you doing?”

Suddenly Joseph saw G.M.’s forehead crease in a quick frown. He glanced over his shoulder so see what she was looking at.

“Mr. Hollowell is set up right next to my spot!” G.M. whispered.

“I’m sorry!” Joseph whispered back. He knew Mr. Hollowell from other art shows. Mr. Hollowell was a very grumpy man. He didn’t seem to like anyone at all.

Joseph dropped his end of the pegboard on the grass and wiped his hands on the seat of his pants. “Hi, Mr. Hollowell,” he said politely.

Mr. Hollowell stared at Joseph from under his bushy eyebrows.

“Good morning, Mr. Hollowell! It’s a fine day the Lord has given us for our show and sale,” G.M. said cheerily.

“Humph! You know I don’t believe in the Lord, Maddie,” Mr. Hollowell grunted. “It’s a fine day because we always have fine days around here in July.” He turned his back on G.M. and Joseph.

Joseph followed G.M. back and forth to the truck until all the parts and pieces of her display were unloaded and piled on the ground. Then he helped her fasten the pegboard together and stand them up. He watched her carefully hang each picture on a metal hook. Joseph was proud of G.M.’s paintings.

“What’s the matter?” G.M. asked, stepping back to make sure she liked the way her pictures were arranged. “You’re awfully quiet.”

“I’m thinking,” Joseph answered. He looked past G.M. to Mr. Hollowell’s wood carving display. Then Joseph walked slowly over to Mr. Hollowell’s table. It was filled with soaring eagles, leaping dolphins and whales, and fierce grizzlies.

Joseph reached out a finger and stroked one of the sleek dolphins. There was something he wanted to say to Mr. Hollowell. Well, he didn’t really want to say it. But he knew he should. And he was going to.

Joseph took a deep breath. He kept his eyes fastened on the beautiful dolphin. “I know you don’t believe in God, Mr. Hollowell,” he said, “but God made you. Just like you made all these animals.”

Joseph looked up at Mr. Hollowell.

Mr. Hollowell looked startled.

“And God loves you, Mr. Hollowell,” Joseph said. “He wanted me to tell you so.” Joseph turned around and walked back to G.M.’s display.

Joseph looked at G.M.

G.M.’s mouth was hanging open. She shut it, and her eyes began to twinkle. She leaned over and whispered in his ear. “You are a very brave person, Joseph Anderson Donetti!”

Joseph grinned up at her. “Pastor Chuck prayed last week in our Sabbath School class that the Holy Spirit would give us the power to be brave for God,” he said.

“I think you can safely say that God is answering that prayer!” G.M. replied.

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