It was the prettiest thing I had ever seen.
It was large, round, and with swirls. The colors looked like raindrops of paint that had fallen on the rooftop of a moving merry-go-round. Willie Wonka was a genius!
I rehearsed my words as we approached the counter. I knew if I had any hope of leaving the store with that sucker, it was going to take quite a sales pitch to mom.
“Mom, may I please have that sucker?” I asked while pointing in the candy’s direction. She looked at the object of my affection, and then at me.
“No,” she flatly replied.
There it was, the dreaded ‘no’. Once spoken, virtually all conversation regarding the subject ended. To venture forward would be akin to sailing into uncharted waters – you never knew how things would turn out
The more I thought about that sucker, however, the more I was willing to risk asking again. To wit, I decided to negotiate.
“Mom if you will let me have that sucker I will be so good,” I pleaded. “I will clean my room, do my homework and even be nice to my little sister.”
Instead of showing anger, she paused. Any kid worth his salt knows a pause is the first cousin to a ‘yes.’ But a pause is a like momentum – it can be a fickle mistress. Hesitate too long, and the moment could be gone.
Accordingly, I added, “Pretty please.”
“Okay, but you have to promise to eat it all,” mom replied.
“No problem,” I assured her.
Mom made the purchase, and I immediately started unwrapping my tie-dyed sucker.
Many of you may recall that wise old owl from the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial. When asked, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop,” the owl began counting, “A one, a two, a three…crunch!”
As I sat in the rear seat of the car, I found myself on that wonderful journey. The first few licks were all that I had imagine they would be, and then some, but somewhere along the way – well short of the center – I became overwhelmed.
As my tongue turned colors and my eyes watered, I realized that this was too much sucker for me. I was in over my head. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that this could happen. My eyes caught the sight of mom’s eyes in the rearview mirror, and for a few more licks I faked happiness. In my mind, I wanted to pass that lollipop around the neighborhood like a priest passes the communal cup. I could think of no other way to get rid of it. The time line between obsession, possession and confession was a blur. Willie Wonka was an evil genius!
There have been numerous times in my life that I have reflected back on that day, especially when I fail. I have found that sin can be a lot like that lollipop – pretty, seductive, and sneaky. If you aren’t careful, you’ll find with a tiger by the tail.
I often wonder if that’s the way it was for Adam and Eve, or even King David? Two people in a garden sounds innocent enough, but there’s a tree that bears forbidden fruit. They must have started upon that fruit much like I did that lollipop.
It is a fearful thing to realize the depth of one’s miscalculation. The situation was slightly different for King David, as he merely was taking in the sights while standing on his rooftop. The next thing you know, the good king is having an affair and plotting to commit murder.
Just like that, you’re sitting in the rear seat regretting what I later discovered was also known as an All-Day Sucker.
There was no way to foresee the devastation of those decisions.
Just as I couldn’t see beyond the sucker, Adam and Eve couldn’t see beyond the fruit and King David couldn’t see beyond Bathsheba. The only one who prevents us from being lifelong suckers is Jesus!