God held me on his lap. “You will be born in a few minutes and I have one last gift to give you before you go.” He handed me a red brick, indistinct from any brick I had ever seen. Its surface felt rough in my hand. God had given me so many wonderful gifts. He promised me a strong body, a quick brain. He gave me compassion, and musical talent. He gave me the gift of words, to use them powerfully. All these things He told me to use for the benefit of my other brothers and sisters already on earth, and those who would come after me. But why the brick? He said, "I want you to carry this brick with you all your life, and then when I call you home, bring it back to me, just as I gave it to you."
"I don't understand," I said.
God gave me one last hug, kissing me on my brow. "You will," He spoke gently in my ear. I threw my arms around his neck. I knew I would miss Him, but I was excited to start my journey on earth.
Wrapping my fingers around my brick I replied,"Promise me, you will bring it back the way it is now," God commanded.
"I promise." Then I slid down off his lap and headed to my departing point. Clutching my brick I dove into earth to begin my life. I carried my brick with me everywhere I went and kept it perfect. At first it was easy to protect it. I didn't let anyone touch it, and it stayed exactly as God had given it to me, at least for a while.
One day while I was out riding my bike I dropped it. A corner chipped off. It was only a little chip. I searched in the dirt for the broken piece. Maybe I could glue it back on. I searched and couldn’t find it. Examining my brick I realized it was only a tiny piece, the smallest of specks; surely God wouldn’t even notice one fleck. I decided I would be more careful.
As I grew my brick suffered more nicks and scrapes and tiny missing pieces. It was really starting to look a little worn. One morning as I looked at it, I decided to see if could replace it. Surely here on earth I could find a brick to match this one. God would never know it wasn't the same brick. I searched every brickyard I could find, but not one brick quite matched the unique color or texture of the one God had given me.
After years of searching I finally stuffed my marred brick in my backpack. I forgot all about it even though I still carried it everywhere I went. I kept it wrapped in a cloth to help protect it. One day, I met the most wonderful man. I married him, had babies and forgot all about my brick; that is until one day my two-year old found the brick and was banging it with a hammer. Shrieking, I grabbed the brick from him and put it high on a shelf. The shelf wasn't high enough and one by one all my children and my husband had knocked it to the floor more than once. The pieces were swept up and thrown in the trash before I knew that they had nearly demolished my brick. My brick became so banged and almost unrecognizable that I wondered if it were a brick at all.
I tried to hide my brick so no one would do any further damage to it. I stuffed it in my bottom drawer, my grandson found it there and drove his toy car over it, and so I put it in a closet, behind my clothes. My granddaughter found it one day while playing dress up and pretended to iron my clothes. The brick left crumbled red stains on my white blouse. My family wasn't the only one to abuse it. The exterminator sprayed bug killer on it, leaving an ugly brown stain. The carpenter who came to fix the water damage in my bedroom knocked it into a bucket of sheet rock mud. I never could quite get all the white goop out of the cracks and crevices.
One day when I was very old I heard God's voice calling me, “It's time to come home now.” I didn't want to go yet. Hadn't I left so many things undone? What about my brick? I pulled it out. Looking at its broken and misshapen form I sobbed.
Heavenly Father saw the tears streaking my face. “What's wrong?” He asked. I sobbed even harder. “Show me what's behind your back,” He said. I hid my face and held up what was left of the precious gift God had given me.
“My, but it's a mess,” was all He said.
I clasped my brick to my chest, hoping to hide it from his view. “My child,” He said, “I asked you to bring it back the way I gave it to you. Did you not know that you could not come back without a perfect brick?”
The tears stung my eyes and fell onto my shirt. I turned to leave His, knowing that I had failed and that I was not worthy of His presence.
With my head down, I didn't see my brother come in, but I heard His voice, kind and gentle. “Father,” he said, “I have all of the missing pieces.” In his hands he held the red broken shards, chips and filings of my brick. Turning to me He said, “Hand me your brick.” I placed it in His hands. He smoothed my brick over with the contents I had lost and then showed it to our Father. “I have made her brick perfect.” Then my brother turned to me. “Here is your brick. It is whole again.” I only hesitated to take it because His hands bled from the labor of fixing my brick.
“Your hands are hurt. I didn’t mean for you to hurt yourself for me.” I said.
“It only hurts if you reject the brick.”
I took it from His hands and even though the brick was restored to its perfect form it didn't seem heavy at all. “Welcome home,” God said as he accepted my perfect brick.