Monday, April 28, 2014

Lessons on a Playground

 “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your 
soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’

My little friend I. and I spent the entire day together on Good Friday while his mama worked.  One of the things we did was go to a city park a few miles from my home.   I. is only 2 1/2 but the boy is mostly fearless.   He doesn't seem to grasp that he has limitations because of his age, inexperience, or size.  This is not a complaint, just an observation.

When we got to the park playground, he wanted to slide first--one of his favorite things to do!  There are many slides at this particular park.   The variety includes small ones perfect for a two year old to enjoy; it also includes larger plastic ones with or without a tunnel.   But I. spotted the two old metal slides first--the ones like the one I was terrified of on my third grade playground.   I felt brave at age eight when I climbed up that metal giant and slid down, gleeful with my accomplishment.  Baby I. walked right up to that high metal ladder and started climbing.  I instructed my fifteen year old son to stand at the bottom of the ladder and be ready to catch this little one if a foot should slip.   I walked to the end of the slide and waited for I's arrival at the bottom.   

His climb was laborious.  This slide was designed decades ago for older children than I.  His legs are short for the distance between the ladder rungs.   But he climbed.  He had the goal in his mind and he knew the reward was waiting for him at the top of that ladder.  His anticipation of that sweet, short ride carried him up those steps.  And that boy was happy when he arrived at the bottom, all smiles, ready to repeat!

It didn't occur to me how hard the baby boy was working until a girl, aged 8 or 9, rushed up that ladder in front of him on one of his repeat trips.   Her feet flew from rung to rung and she was at the top in seconds while baby I. climbed  laboriously behind her.   The pure determination in his face showed his concentration on the task.  He was literally working with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind to make that climb and receive the reward as he swooshed down, giggling. 

He did not care how long it took him; he did not care that others made the same climb in much less time.   The boy was determined!   And in those moments of observation, I could hear Jesus whisper, 

  "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."    (Matthew 18:3)

As I continue my life's journey, I am inspired to possess more tenacity and become more childlike as I seek to walk with Jesus each day.  Walking the road, not looking for the easy or easier way, not avoiding the harder parts.  I need to work at it with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Pressing on in HIM,

Lisa Ann 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silly Saturday Story

Having been ill with a respiratory virus all week, I have done only the absolutely necessary tasks.   Until today, we had managed with what was in the fridge or picked up quickly on the way home from workBut in spite of my intention of not leaving the house all weekend, I had to vacate my cocoon in order to buy vittles for the natives.    Who knew that teenage boys expect the refrigerator to be stocked?

I exited my vehicle and started walking toward the store.   I suddenly found myself in step with a gentleman whom had exited his car across from mine in the same parking lane.  Our paths converged as we drew close to the driveway running in front of the store front.  He muttered something and I looked over to see if I had been spoken to.  He didn't make eye contact, shook his head a bit, and kept walking.   My first impression of him was that he is a bit of a Bohemian hippie wannabe.  He looked a tad too young to be the real thing.  

We both needed to retrieve shopping carts; I tried to defer to him and stay out of his zone of operation as we both maneuvered carts from separate lines of them.  He stopped, stared at me straight in the face.  I smiled and said, "Go ahead."   He did, without smiling.   A niggly little feeling crept into my consciousness; I shook it off and set off to produce and bread.   I crossed close to his path a couple of times through the store aisles; but I quickly moved on wanting to avoid any further direct contact.   

I made my way to the checkout line with a favorite cashier and the shortest line to boot.  I was feeling as if I had escaped some unknown perverse danger when who should appear at the checkout line next to mine but my Bohemian non-friend.  I carefully kept my focus on what was in front of me instead of who was a few feet away beside me.   The cashier and her bagging assistant made quick work of my purchases and had me ready to go in short order.   I glanced over and saw with relief that I was going to escape the store ahead of HIM.     

In spite of my difficulty with walking and breathing at the same time, I made my way to my vehicle and quickly unloaded my six or seven bags.  Now I just have to put the shopping cart in the proper place and I'll have escaped that menacing fellow.  I look through the window and see the return on the other side of my truck and, "Oh dear, there he is.  He's going to see me.   This could be life or death."

But I can't NOT  return the shopping cart to the proper place!   

So I walk around my vehicle pushing that cart while my Bohemian, hippie wannabe non friend pushes on to his own vehicle  and begins to unload his purchases.   I get into my vehicle, put on my seatbelt, start my truck, and drive off to finish my errands.  

You know, my mama always told me I was too much like Nancy Drew, always looking for a mystery.  Maybe I should choose another genre of book to be reading for awhile.   Maybe that James Patterson mystery thriller got to me more than I thought!   But I kept watching in my rear view mirror just to make sure.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sweet Dreams

As I prepared to lay me down to sleep last night, my conscious mind suddenly flashed with images from a dream from the wee hours that I had not remembered all day.  Its sweetness caught my heart strings and I wanted to return to it.

John and I entered an older house to see if it might meet our purchase requirements.  As we toured from room to room,  we were surprised by rich wall colors and a few antiques left behind by whomever had been living there.   It appeared to be a small house but as we continued through a hall we entered a large room in the center of the house with nothing in it.   I heard several voices from an adjoining room and entered it to find my parents sitting at a dining table enjoying after dinner coffee with dear friends.   I, in my wakened state, have no idea whom the friends were, but in the dream I knew them and considered them dear family friends.   John continued to tour the other rooms of the house and never entered the dining room.   I flitted out of the dining room into the kitchen and then found a surprise third bathroom not listed in the real estate listing through another hallway.

Before the dream ended, I returned to the dining room where my parents and their friends were chatting happily and amicably.  I don't recall words being exchanged between us; but there were smiles and I knew in my heart that they were proud of me and who I am and whom I'm becoming and mostly of Whose I am, not only theirs, but their Father's also.  I gathered my purse and I think I told them I would see them later and then left the dining room to find John.  

Having suddenly lost my father as a young child, I haven't seen him in 42 plus years.  I lost my mom in all the important ways in my mid-twenties to Alzheimer's Disease, though her body lingered until my mid-thirties.   I cannot convey the sweetness of the moments in that dream.   But I am so grateful for that gift!