Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”
I Timothy 6: 17 (NLT)
It’s a moment which is forever etched in my memory. Her words floated in my thoughts as I readied to go outside earlier this morning to retrieve the paper—
“Wait, granddaddy. I remember! I’ll show you!”
It had been a day ushered in by yet another cold morning. You could almost see the ice crystals forming in the shimmering blue sky as I opened the front door and watched the vapor trails from a passing jet mark the history of its travels. The weekend weather had been much the same, and my older granddaughter Hannah, anticipating her time with us, knew that I, as her granddaddy, would heat the pool so that, as she put it, “she wouldn’t get sick from swimming in cold water.” By the way, as our younger granddaughter Ellie Kate has gotten older she, too, has come to understand that there are some people that you can rely on and take for granted—and that is perfectly okay with them.
Just two days earlier, as I watched our two granddaughters swimming in the heated waters of the pool, I decided that I would surprise them again. I had done the very same thing I was planning to do, a year earlier. And so, I began to empty my pockets of keys, wallet and other valuables, removed my watch, cell phone, shoes, socks and belt, and stood at the edge of the pool ready to jump in fully dressed.
“Wait granddaddy!” Hannah had seen what I was doing and remembered, and pleaded as she climbed from the pool. “Wait! I remember! I’ll show you what you did before!”
She had remembered everything about that moment from the year before when I had shocked the family, and left her in wide-eyed disbelief, when I had jumped—fully clothed—straight into the pool, feet first—as she was now demonstrating for me. It was a positive moment indelibly etched in her memory. So, of course I obliged my precious little girl and her memory and jumped in just as she demonstrated—feet first, clothes on; after which I “glided” around in my soggy blue jeans and turtleneck from one end of the pool to the other, as together we swam, splashed and played make-believe games for another hour or so before being called to dinner.
I suppose that’s why I did it. That’s probably why I drove two and ½ hours very early in the morning on occasion, then they lived in Tampa, to pick her up and take her to school with a stop on the way for potato crispers. It’s why Lynda kept a bag packed to always be ready to go and help when needed. It’s why we try to never miss a birthday or other special moment or occasion in our granddaughters’ lives (or son or daughter-in-law for that matter either) or any of their school functions. I suppose that’s why I give Hannah and Ellie Kate cards telling them I love them; or why we change anything we have planned when the opportunity to keep them occurs. Just trying to mix in enough fun and fond memories along the way with the tough ones they will experience in their lives. Memories that give them a warm, safe and affirming place of acceptance to always return to that which will help to carry them through their days.
Listen to me—life is really not all about cutting the lawn, going to the office, making the bed and cleaning the house. It’s not all about practical decisions or being quiet so you can hear the evening news or your favorite TV show. It’s really not about things, fame, making money and winning championships—blasphemy to say that, I know. But God’s call on our lives is all about making memories with and for the important people in our life. It’s about sharing with others the love of God given to us. And it begins with those right at the end of our elbows who are entrusted to us to care for.
So let me ask you a couple of questions: When’s the last time you went to visit someone who needed a visit? When’s the last time you made a call, or wrote a letter, to someone who could use a lift and a special and unforgettable moment in their life? When’s the last time you had a date with your spouse or “date-night” with your little girl who adores you? When’s the last time you played catch, or whatever he wanted to do, with your son? When’s the last time you sent flowers to someone, for no particular reason other than to brighten their day? When’s the last time you did something that would cause others to question your sanity—like jumping into the pool with your clothes on?
And so let me suggest something: that no matter where you are on the time-line of your life’s journey, and no matter how many moments you’ve lost or let slip through your fingers to this point, that beginning today, you start to be very intentional about leaving a trail of positive benchmarks—warm memories—in the lives of those around you who really do matter.
Memories they will cling to in the rough spots. Memories that will draw you closer to them in their moment of need. Memories that will make a statement to them that affirms their value to you and to the God who created them. You will never know when they—or you—might need to draw on those memories as a warm place of safety, acceptance and affirmation.
Life has enough memories of the tough variety, so why not kick a few leaves and jump in a few pools, and make a few of the warm and wonderful kind? Why not leave a lifetime of fond and unforgettable memories along the way? Why not mark all of life with a fistful of warm and wonderful memories for and with those you love and who love and need you, and need to know they can always count on you and take you for granted.
Because you know, in the end, when we look back on our lives, we will discover that in life’s finest moments—it was all about jumping in the pool with your clothes on!
Discover that now, and trust me, drying off will never be more satisfying.
In His Name—Scott