Monday, April 15, 2013

A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry

     When it comes to my family and even my fur friends, I am a big softie at heart.
Nathan and Beau
 Beginning Friday, we welcomed our son Nathan home from Kentucky for a visit, our son Aaron and his family, our daughter Jordan and her family as well as Reid and his family.  In all, we had 16 wonderful souls under our roof.  It was noisy, busy, and exhausting at times but worth every minute.
     Nathan's visit was prompted by his promise to come and get his dog Beau which he left with us back in September last year when his landlord informed him he could not have a dog in the house he was renting.  Being tender hearted towards animals, I volunteered to take Beau in until April when Nathan would be moving to a house where he could have a pet.  Little did my husband and I know that Beau, who is half Siberian Husky and half Golden Retriever, would be such a hand full.  He single-handedly destroyed the screening on our porch and a few windows, chewed up numerous pairs of shoes, annihilated three throw rugs, put gouges in our wood floor by dropping his bones on the floor (as versus the carpet where he usually lays) and even chewed on a pair of my glasses.  He even brought me to tears at one point when he chewed up some new socks I had just gotten.  Nevertheless, we did all we could to tame the pup by taking him on walks and bribing him with treats.
     As promised Nathan returned this weekend to reclaim his dog and visit with family.  The sounds of babies giggling, children playing and adult conversation is always a welcome change in our daily routine.  We celebrated three birthdays as well, and then, by Saturday evening, everyone started to pack up and return home.  Nathan did not go until Sunday morning.
     Watching him strap Beau in the cab of his truck seat and climb in to return home, brought a lump to
Aunt Bonnie reading to the cousins and Uncle C.J. playing with the
my throat.  I fought the urge to cry then because we were headed to our daughter's home to witness the baptism of our granddaughter at church yesterday morning.  Upon our return, however, I was overcome by how silent and empty our house seemed to be.  Beau was not there to greet us with his wild barking and crazy antics.  Even our old basset hound Roscoe seemed to mope around more than usual because his playmate was gone.  Suddenly the tears I had been holding back began to fall one by one, and the words of a long ago song filled my mind:  "There are watercolor ponies / On my refrigerator door/ And the shape of something/ I don't really recognize/ Drawn by careful little fingers/ And put proudly on display/ A reminder to us all/ Of how time flies. / Seems an endless mound of laundry/ And a stairway laced with toys/ Gives a blow by blow/ Reminder of the war/ That we fight for their well-being/ For their greater understanding/ To impart a holy reverence/ For the Lord. (chorus) But, baby, what will we do/ When it comes back to me and you?/ They look a little less/ Like little boys every day/ Oh, the pleasure of watching/ The children growing/ Is mixed with a bitter cup/ Of knowing the watercolor ponies/ Will one day ride away" (Wayne Watson, Watercolour Ponies).
     Time has a way of slipping away from us all too quickly, and I believe God wants us to use it according to His good pleasure and will.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says:  For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven."  The passage goes on to list the various times in our life, but the point of the scripture is to show the sovereignty of God who holds all things in His hands (Psalm 31:15).  He knows our beginning and our end as well as all the in between.  We should take comfort in knowing this.
Our daughter Jordan with her son Gavin and Rilyn in the baptism gown Jordan wore at her baptism
 Today, the Lord knew I would be happy on the inside having just enjoyed the fellowship of my family but at the same time, sad that once again the house is quiet.  And yes, I even miss the rascal dog Beau.  People and animals come and go in our lives.  What is most important is how we interact with them while we have the opportunity.  Do we show them godly love and point them to Christ?  Certainly, that was the goal of our parenting and home education.  Even now, we are here to serve as encouragers and cheerleaders for our children, their spouses and our grandchildren.  This brings glory to God and prayerfully helps them weather the mountains of laundry, the bills, the times when they cannot think in a complete sentence because little ones are calling for their help.  We have been there and done that.   We are seasoned stable hands for those "water color ponies" and have much to offer those who have little ones in their home.
     Being a parent is not an easy task but it is one of God's greatest gifts.  Those hard times are now sweet memories, and we look with joy on what the Lord is doing in the lives of our children and grandchildren.  God wants us to use our time wisely and to remember that He has numbered our days on this earth.  Therefore, we need to invest ourselves in the relationships He gives to us that we might glorify God and enjoy Him and the gifts He gives forever.  Selah!


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