July 6

She’s still staying with her dying friend, and still the same as ever — still that wonderful present person who eases pain and makes people happy wherever she goes <3 She was heading out for a walk yesterday with Mary-Ann and little Abby, so I met up with them and we all went out together. After about an hour-long loop, heading back into town, we passed that fountain that means so much to me, and means even more, now. Lotte sat on a bench at the top of the stairs, we stood there beside her, and…ahhh, just looking around, it took me right back to those days I was so lonely. “I’m sorry, fountain,” I said, “I haven’t chilled with you in ages, I’ve just been rushing by without even looking at you half the time.” I looked down and saw that Abby had refilled her nalgene and was scrambling up the steps. — I looked at Lotte and was so struck by how lucky I am to know her. — Now here’s Abby with the bottle. Mary-Ann reached out to take it from her: “No!” the kid yelled so adorably, “no, Lotte, you get to drink first!” And there was so much truth and feeling in that little yell, I was overwhelmed — I couldn’t put my feelings into words, I just lifted the kid right off the ground and covered her face with kisses, and right away she started screaming and crying. “That wasn’t nice,” Lotte said. I was crushed. “Come on, Abby,” she went on, taking her by the hand and leading her down the steps, “wash it off in the nice fresh water, here we go, here we go, it’s okay.” Standing there, watching that little girl scrubbing her cheeks so desperately with her wet hands, totally convinced the magic fountain’s cleansing powers would vaccinate her against my gross, contagious beard — how even when Lotte told her it was enough, the kid kept on washing and washing, because obviously more would do more than less…Will, you know that awe you feel watching someone get baptized? This was like that, times ten — and when Lotte came up the steps, I could have thrown myself at her feet like she was a prophet who’d purified the sins of a nation.

That evening, I was still riding such a high that I couldn’t help telling this one guy about what happened — this is someone I thought would understand, because he’s a sensitive guy, but wow, was I wrong! He said that was a very bad thing for Lotte to do; you shouldn’t let kids believe stuff like that; it’s the sort of thing that opens the door to all the fuzzy thinking and superstition you should try to keep kids away from as much as possible. — Right then it struck me that this guy had just had his kid baptized a week earlier, so I let it slide, and just felt happy knowing what I’ve always known, deep down: we should treat children the way God treats us. Letting people believe crazy things makes them happy :)

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