Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bass Pro Shops and More to Come

...I will build you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your sons will be taught by the LORD,
and great will be your children’s peace.
In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.

Isaiah 54:11-14

It was a good weekend. A long ride on snowy roads with new tires and functional brakes. A trip to a new store that dazzled us with interesting items and decor. Children sleeping soundly in their beds. A great meal that I didn't have to cook or clean up, or (thanks to a gift card) even pay for.

Intermixed in the adventures were many potential moments for conflict and distress. Frigid weather. Potty trips with fussy babies in tow. Being separated in the store with no working cell phone. Hungry children who still hadn't eaten dinner at bedtime. A waitress giving Donny's milk to Hayden - and the ensuing dash to find Benadryl at the closest convenience store. Sawing open the Benedryl liquid capsule with a Swiss Army knife. Huddling around a small table at Dunkin Donuts for a dinner of bagels instead of the family dining experience we had planned. Attempting to get to church on time. Rescheduling the dining experience only to have it interrupted by a crying baby. Baby crying all afternoon.

But overall, I am counting this a great weekend. As we cruised along the quiet, snow-covered highway, Don and I actually got to talk without being interrupted, distracted, or interrupted again. We soaked up the delights of Bass Pro Shops in Foxboro, MA as gleefully as our children did. We came home with presents and pictures and memories. And I fell in love even more with the husband and father who handled the medical emergencies and interrupted meals and continual demands of four little people with grace, calmness, and self-control.

What really amazes me is that every good thing on this earth - cute camo shirts, singing children, smiling babies, tasty bowls of guacamole, digital cameras, new strollers, helpful husbands, great conversations, answered prayers - they are just a shadow of what is to come. God has so much in store for us. Heaven is going to be amazing in a way that puts our modern over-use of the word to shame.

When we walked into Bass Pro Shops for the first time, it was overwhelming just to look around - in every direction there was something to see. Bears and foxes on the walls. A moose in front of us. Fish and turtles in the pond. Endless racks of camo gear. Giant boats and an enormous whale (which the boys insisted was probably made of cement) suspended from the ceiling. Knotty pine and spotlights everywhere.

Under the whale

Will we win this? Not likely!

Donny took this one:

But heaven is going to be made not of pine and fur, but of gold and jewels! No one will cry, no one will go hungry, no one will be cold, and no one will be allergic to milk. Like children in a candy store (oh yes, they had lots of candy at Bass Pro Shops too!), we will be awestruck and delighted in a way that our feeble human minds cannot comprehend. I can't wait.

I am so thankful for these little snippets of family fun that we can piece together into a collection of sweet memories. I am thankful for healthy children and a wonderful husband to raise them along with me. I am thankful for peaceful sleep whenever and wherever we find it. But most of all, I am thankful for the hope that there is so much more than this. Looking past the skyline, I can't see clearly, but I know there is something big and beautiful and infinitely beyond description or definition. We will have nothing to fear; there will just be peace. And it will be great.

(View out the window)

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