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TRUST JESUS TODAY
As I melted into the flow of Monday evening traffic, I shuddered at the feeling of déjà vu that enveloped me. Karen Carpenter was right. All I was missing was the storm clouds. If I were smarter, I thought, I’d be running my wipers in anticipation of the inevitable. It wasn’t just that it was the end of another Monday workday. It was the sameness of it all. On the radio, George Jones had finally stopped loving her today. Just like he did every day immediately before Skye King or Helen Copter or some other traffic expert with an inane helicopter related moniker told me that there was a tractor trailer loaded with frozen chickens overturned on the only exit ramp leading to my home. The same 1976 Vega that had been using it’s exhaust system to spray for mosquitoes since the mid-eighties, mustered enough speed to settle in just in front of me in traffic for the next 32 miles.
The only event that had broken the routine of this mundane Monday was that I had recently managed to acquire one of the worst colds I had ever had. Not the “Oh, I feel a touch of the sniffles” type of cold. No sir, I had the “ Hedo, by dame is Mark, how bay I heb you”, how much of this cough medicine can I swig without being rendered unconscious, there is no skin left on my nose, please call the Dr. honey because that last cough dislodged something I will need later, type of cold. As I steered my way toward the sunset laying before me, I resigned myself to the fact that this Monday would take it’s place in the stack of hundreds of other uneventful, unmemorable Mondays that littered my life.
As I made the last turn onto my familiar dead end street, I caught a glimpse of my three angels shooting basketball in their fuzzy house slippers. They were my girls alright. I rolled to a stop at the foot of my drive as my middle child, Sara ducked her head and made her move to the basket simultaneously scoring two points and losing a Tweety Bird slipper in the tall grass behind the goal. A chorus of “Hey daddy’s” came up from them like the chirping of hungry chicks awaiting food. The hat was off and the streamers were down. My pity party was over. It may have been a drab, normal Monday to this point. My nose may have been running faster than a Kenyan at the Boston Marathon. I no longer felt trapped in a meaningless day.
The three of them had always had this way of melting the arctic chill of a day at the salt mines.
I slowly began my trek up the drive, continuing to watch them in my side mirror. I noticed the writing at the bottom of the mirror and smiled to myself. “Objects May Be Closer Than They Appear”. When it came to those kids and my heart, truer words were never written. I unfolded myself from my seat and stepped to the rear of the car. I opened the trunk like always and reached down to retrieve my briefcase. As I began to push the trunk to, a package caught my eye. I stopped and picked it up. I groaned as I slapped my forehead.
It was a present. For my daughter Sara. For her birthday. Which was today! How could I have forgotten, I murmured to myself as tried not so creatively to hide the present in my jacket in order to slip it into the house. I managed a slow, awkward trip to the door and slid inside, unnoticed by my girl’s who were still hard at play. I was greeted by my wife. My wonderful wife who had decorated the house and had dinner AND a large birthday cake sitting in the table dotted with eleven candles. I can never forget how much I love this woman. She does too many things each day to remind me. I handed the unwrapped gift to her, and she made her way down the hall to prepare it to be unwrapped again within the hour.
As I loosened my tie, I was drawn to the cake. It wasn’t really the cake that caught my eye. It was the candles. Eleven of them. Where had the time gone? I was shaken from my thoughts by three noisy, sweaty, beautiful faces all staring up at me. “Look at it Daddy!, Sara beamed. Eleven candles! I am almost a teenager now, you know.” “That’s right, baby girl, I sighed. You sure are growing up.”
All through dinner I listened as my wife, son and three daughters filled me in on the details of their day. My mind, however, remained occupied with thoughts of how Sara, how ALL of them were growing up so quickly. Even my six year old seemed ancient as I listened to her describe her day’s adventures at school. We sang the birthday song as Sara blew out the candles. We laughed together and took pictures as she opened her gift. We played her new board game and then it was off to bed. My wife was soon back to getting clothes prepared for the rest of the week. I lingered longer than usual as I said each one’s prayer’s and kissed them good night. I saved Sara for last as I wished her a happy birthday one more time. Just like I do every time a birthday arrives, I reminisced about that first miraculous birthday and about the first time I got to hold her in my arms. “You can’t do that any more, Daddy! I’m all grown up now. I’m too big for you.” I smiled weakly and kissed her forehead. As I walked down the hall, her words kept ringing in my ears. “I’m all grown up now.” I paused at the light switch at the end of the hall and clicked off the hall light. She was right. I had consumed myself with too many drab, normal Mondays. I had let the time slip by me. All of them had grown up in the blink of an eye. I reached into the mail holder and began thumbing through the day’s mail. My mind drifted to the separation of bills and junk mail when a small voice broke the silence. It was Sara‘s.
“If you don’t mind, could you leave the hall light on? I’m not all the way grown up yet.”
“Sure, honey. Good night.”
“Good night, daddy. I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetie.”
Every mundane Monday should be this drab and normal.
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