There are only a couple of five year olds that I have known that surprised me with their ability to maintain an engaging conversation at such a young age. Elijah was one of them.
I remember the first time I saw Elijah. He prayed for his dad Terry, a traveling evangelist at the time, before the sermon began. Terry would say, “I preach,” and Elijah would respond, “and I pray.” Elijah was three. “Cute trick,” my jaded, teenage self thought. Oh teenage self, so young, so wrong.
The first time I actually met Elijah was on a long van ride to Helen, Ga. Terry had become our youth leader and Elijah was riding with us on this occasion. As we started down the road I said something to Elijah who was sitting next to me. I don’t remember the exchange exactly but it went something like…
Jason says something cute to pick on Elijah.
Elijah hits Jason with a verbal zinger from left field.
Jason’s mouth drops open and shoots attention to driver.
Driver, Terry, turns around momentarily with huge grin and says, “Guess you didn’t expect that from a 5 year old!”
The rest of the drive involved me getting to know this incredible kid.
This wonderful family continued to amaze me with their progeny. Emilie, their daughter, at the mature age of two constantly reminded me and my friends of how silly we were, and, in no uncertain terms, that we were to desist from any action that might cause her mental anguish. (“No Bob!”, “No Jason!”, “Jason, you so silly.”) From all I’ve gathered online in the past few days, it appears that Elijah and his sister haven’t lost their cheekiness and wit through the years.
I’m not sure when this note was written, but I suppose it wasn’t too long after I met Elijah. I like this note because it’s the unfiltered opinion of a child. Also, it’s fun to see the valiant attempt at penmanship and correct grammar (still working on that myself). Most of all I love all the memories this note brings back of this extraordinary family.
Elijah: Thank you for teaching me that amazing inspiration and ideas can come from the most unassuming of places. I hope that you are never at a loss for wisdom and that you continue to be an encouragement to others.
Emilie: Although so young at the time, thank you for the unending laughter you provided us on many trips. Your curiosity and unfiltered, two year old dialogue kept us rolling. May you continue to leave a trail of joy and laughter wherever you go.
Sandy: Thank you for lending all of us in the various youth groups your time, care, and family. You are a great mother and have raised 3 fantastic individuals (I include Terry in that number).
Terry: You have shown me that God can accomplish what I ask at a level far above what I originally intended. You made a significant mark in my life and showed me how powerful and practical faith and prayer can be. Thank you for investing in me and being a teacher and a mentor.