The Sparkler Disaster

“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.” Psalm 16:1, NIV

Wilona Karimabadi
The Sparkler Disaster

All the kids had been looking forward to this party for weeks! All the cousins would be there, all the aunts and uncles, and there would be yummy food. Best of all, there would be so many cousins to play with. 

Elly couldn’t wait. It was always fun to have the entire family together. As the oldest of all the kids, Elly was also used to keeping an eye on the younger kids and making sure that they were having fun and that no one got hurt. If you’ve ever had a large family gathering with many children playing and running around, someone usually takes a tumble at some point. Elly’s job was to keep an eye out for those things. But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t have a great time.

It wasn’t long before the sun dipped down and the party was in full swing. There was so much food! It seemed as though all the aunties got together and made everyone’s favorites too. Of course, before the meal the entire family gathered to pray, and as usual, a special mention was made for Jesus to protect each person no matter where they were or what they were doing. 

Elly thought that that was a nice part of the prayer, but she couldn’t imagine what any of them would need protection from. Still, it was nice to say that. All the cousins sat on a sheet put out for them to catch spills from the food and drink before any stains formed on the floor. All the grown-ups were eating and talking and laughing. As usual, there was a flurry of activity in the kitchen as everyone helped bring out more food and take out empty dishes. Elly looked around and thought about how happy having a big family made her. There were always people to play with and lots of aunts and uncles who made her feel special. 

After the meal was finished, Uncle announced he had a very special surprise for all the kids. They could play with sparklers outside! If you haven’t seen a sparkler before, they are long, thin metal sticks with a special flammable material that creates sparks as it burns. The sparks flame out quickly after being lit. 

When you play with sparklers, you are supposed to hold them out far away from your body— especially clothes, as fabric can catch fire easily. You should remain relatively immobile and not be too close to anyone else who has a sparkler going off near you. And most of all, you should never play with sparklers without an adult with you. 

Uncle handed out a sparkler to all the kids and went around lighting each one. How beautiful the sparkles looked against the night sky. But as happens with kids and something new and fun, everyone got excited—a little too excited. Cousins began chasing each other with their flaming sparklers. Sure, they tried to hold the sparklers out in front of them and away from their bodies, but that also meant they were holding them closer to someone else. 

That’s when it happened. A cousin was running too close to Elly with the sparkler popping off, and a spark landed on Elly’s dress and caught fire! All the kids started screaming, and before Elly knew what was happening, Uncle was whacking her back with his bare hands to put the flames out. It all happened so fast. Luckily, the only damage to be found was one ruined dress. Elly was unhurt, and even Uncle’s hands seemed to be OK. Somehow, a greater disaster was averted. It was as though they were protected. 

And then Elly remembered the prayer before dinner and especially the prayer for protection she thought no one really needed. It all made sense now. 

The sparklers were disposed of, and Elly says they were no longer part of family parties anymore. But the prayers for protection were always there, and Elly would have it no other way.

Wilona Karimabadi