Long ago, further back than anyone can remember, there lived a remarkable toymaker. He was a wonderful man. The definition of kind, good and wise. He made toys simply because He loved to make children smile, play, laugh and love. This toymaker didn’t do it for the money. You see, he set out to find children in hard places. Children who couldn’t pay him for the toys. Children who couldn’t even express their gratitude, but needed to be seen. Who needed to feel special and who would be elated with the little surprises mailed to them. His toys brought smiles to hurting children all over the world.
One day, he went to his workshop with a plan to create two red trucks. With great care, he fashioned these trucks especially for two very special boys. They were brothers and their family was poor, lacking not just money, but all of the things children need to thrive. Things like food, a safe home and the stability of loving adults. There was a lot of darkness in this home. It was not a safe place for children to smile, play, laugh and love. So, the toymaker made plans to send these two red trucks to the two special little boys. He built them with love and wrapped them with care using the shiniest wrapping and the curliest bows that money could buy.
It was a blustery, cold afternoon. The toymaker bundled up and carefully walked the two beautiful boxes to the post office. Snow was expected but the mailman assured the toymaker that the two red trucks would arrive safe and sound.
That weekend, the weather took a turn for the worse and things became so dark and so cold in the children’s home that it was no longer a good place for them. The two boys and their baby sister were taken to a home for children who needed a safe place to smile, play, laugh and love. This place was filled to the brim with children. Children who needed families. This place didn’t feel like home to them. Within a few days, the boys were split up and placed in temporary homes where they could attempt to “start over”. But, “Why this whole starting over process?” the children wondered. It seemed so strange to be taken from their home. The darkness and the cold was all they’d ever known. It had felt quite safe to them. In fact, coming out of those shadows was terrifying. But they didn’t seem to have a say in the matter, so they just closed their eyes, and tried their best to do what these unfamiliar voices told them to do.
After just a week or two, those unfamiliar voices sounded frustrated and fed up and the children found themselves “starting over” again. But why this whole starting over process? And why again? Had they done something wrong? They really missed the darkness they had once known. Nothing felt safe now. Everyone and everything was terrifying. They tried to fight for a say in the matter, but they were so tired. So they just closed their eyes and shut up their hearts and wondered if life would always be unfamiliar.
The two red trucks in the two beautiful boxes were returned back to the post office with scribbly writing indicating that no little boys lived at that address. The postmaster told the toymaker that he was sorry and that there must have been a mistake. With warm assurance, the toymaker confidently, but sadly, smiled knowing that this was all part of the plan for these two red trucks and these two little boys. The Toymaker took the boxes, now a little tattered, and returned to his shop. He would re-wrap and re-curl and wait.
With nothing but some ill-fitting clothing and another rush of “starting over” adrenaline, the boys were separated yet again, but this time was different. They were entrusted to families who were good at smiling, playing, laughing and loving. These families knew how to make the unfamiliar feel safe. And though the children still grasped for the darkness, slowly they felt secure enough to open their eyes and open little corners of their hearts. The toymaker was well acquainted with these safe families and swelled with excitement knowing that the boys were one step closer to receiving the special gifts he had made for them.
A year or so passed and the toymaker found permanent addresses for the two little boys. He had kept those two brightly colored boxes right near his desk just waiting for the perfect time. The boys were settled at their new addresses–the homes of families who were overjoyed to be a forever warm place to smile, play, laugh and love. The toymaker was ecstatic because he knew the two families were arranging to see each other to allow the boys time to reconnect as brothers. THIS would be the perfect time to send the two red trucks.
Off he went to the post office and off went the boxes through the mail, each one with a boy’s name on the outside, including a surprise for their little sister, too. Even though these trucks would ultimately be going to two different homes of two different families, and though these boys wouldn’t be together each day, the toymaker had always known the plan. He knew that the two red trucks and his keen interest in their lives would forever connect the boys and remind them of each other, bringing them joy as they smiled, played, laughed and loved.
Years went by and the boys grew into wonderfully brave men who made a huge impact on the world around them. They were strong because of all the hardship they’d seen. From time to time, they would glance at the little red trucks that had reminded them of one another throughout the years they would reflect on the kindness, goodness and wisdom of the toymaker–this Toymaker–who loved the boys and sacrificed his livelihood for the joy of children around the world, made much more than the toys. He made a difference in their lives and, because of that, the world can now see the work of the Toymaker through both boys, without ever having laid eyes on the little red trucks.
Happy Birthday, Big Brother. We love you always.