It's the weekend, and frankly, I can't watch one more newscast; read one more website; or listen to one more podcast. I honestly tried to find some good, uplifting news to comment on, but none could be found. It seems no matter where I turned, all I saw was more discouraging headlines and negative predictions. So I just decided to take a break from it all, and reflect on the things in my life that have brought me pleasure --- kind of a mental vacation, if you will.
I started to make a list of the things that make me smile when I think of them; the people and events and things that have made up all the experiences called "my life". While my memories won't be the same as yours, I imagine we share some of the same sentiments. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your favorite comfortable chair, and let your mind wander as I take you to other times and places. I remember ......
.... the whole class standing together to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of each school day.
.... a trip to the Library with my brand new library card, and the musty smell of all those wonderful books!
.... Vacation Bible School and learning that "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know". (Now I take solace in the fact that Jesus knows me, this I love).
.... crying with my mother every time we watched "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Waltons".
.... Sunday afternoon drives in the country and stops along the way for ice cream.
.... the thrill of sledding down a steep hill on a Red Ryder sled with the neighborhood kids; the cold biting at our cheeks
.... my grandmother's home-made cinnamon rolls and the best fried chicken in the whole world.
.... re-runs of "I Love Lucy"; Veeta Vita Vegamin is my all-time favorite!
.... the sound of the ice-cream truck coming around the corner, and that first bite of a Dream-cycle.
.... my first paycheck from my summer job and the thrill that I was "earning" my own way.
.... family reunions and taking my turn at cranking the home-made ice cream maker.
.... never getting tired of seeing "The Sound of Music".
.... running through the sprinkler on a hot summer day with my sisters and brothers; we didn't have access to a pool and we didn't care!
.... getting to stay up late to watch the "Johnny Carson Show".
.... watching the 1980 U.S. Ice Hockey team defeat Russia in the Olympics, and then go on to beat Finland for the Gold Medal.
.... watching the annual showing of "The Wizard of Oz" on TV, which was a family event, complete with Chef Boy R Dee pizza!
.... driving the back roads in a 1967 Camaro, listening to the Beatles' "Abbey Road" on an 8-track cassette (now I've aged myself!)
.... sitting on my father's lap as a child, as he sang "Here Comes Santa Claus" and all the verses to "Jingle Bells"
.... seeing my father cry, as he dropped me off at the college dormitory, and drove the 800 miles back home -- a separation that neither of us was quite ready for
.... Fourth of July fireworks under the Arch in St. Louis with my sisters and nieces and nephews
.... white-water rafting in Montana and the exhilaration (and terror) of shooting the rapids
.... the smell of ozone in the air before a thunderstorm, and the sound of rain falling on a tin roof
.... the sound of a fire crackling in a wood-burning stove on a cold winter night
I could go on and on. But just doing this exercise has relaxed me and made me realize that those things still exist; the current madness can't take them away from me. And these memories remind me that it is the simple things that define my life and mean the most. The problems of the world and the worries that attend them will still be here tomorrow. I'm not ignoring them or pretending they don't exist. I'm just taking a mini-vacation and refilling my reserves. I advise you to do the same. You'll be renewed, reinvigorated and restored. And if even for a short while, you'll have something to smile about!
Exodus 33:13 "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."