The question was posed - Have you ever seen something so beautiful, something so grand, it takes your breath away? Something so glorious that you are left thinking on that one thing for days to come?
For days I have been left thinking about something - nothing glorious or grand - but something simple. A date with my husband and my dog at the local drive-in movie theater to watch Christopher Robin. While I loved the movie, that's not what I have continued to think about since Sunday.
What I am still thinking about is the warm memories we created with another "first" in our relationship, and all the childhood memories it stirred about living a simple life in a small town.
First, the fact that Robert and I spent the entire day feeling as giddy as children still makes me smile. Then the talk of what we would bring to snack on and preparing our bag of treats - a big bowl full of two popped bags of microwave popcorn, chocolate, and licorice. Two warm blankets were rolled and placed on the console of the car. I stuffed slipper socks into my purse in case my feet got cold. Zugspitze had his bed and blanket laid out on the folded back seats - along with an antler to chew on. Robert was relaxed, not a care in the world, and he laughed at everything Pooh said. A warmth still flows through me as I think about it. My words don't seem to do it justice. My heart was romanced by God in the simplest of things.
By the next day, my memories expanded from the previous night to far in the past. Going to the drive-in with my family. My sister and I in the back seat, the smell of stove-top popcorn filling the car, my mom looking back and telling Lisa to make herself look younger so they could pay the cheaper price! Sorry, mom! I couldn't resist. It still makes me laugh out loud!
I guess for some living in a small town could be challenging. People ask me all the time how I'm able to live here without all the amenities of a big city. They are usually talking about shopping malls, Target, Home Depot, etc. And maybe even movie theaters that show six movies at a time at all hours of the day and night.
I'm okay not having the convenience of everything just a few miles away - because honestly, those few miles can add up to 30 minutes or more because of traffic, and I'm really okay not dealing with that!
I can remember as a child sitting with my mom looking through the JCPenney catalog. We did most of my school shopping that way since the nearest city was an hour and a half away. Dog-earing the pages of what I wanted, waiting, anticipating, and the total thrill of when the package came in the mail felt like more than my young heart could handle! And don't even get me started on the Christmas catalog! We spent hours and hours each day looking and dreaming with such wonder and excitement until our fingertips were black from catalog ink.
When Cabbage Patch dolls first came out you could only order them from a catalog. I think I might have been able to choose boy or girl, but that was it. Everything else about "adopting" one of the dolls was a surprise. The memory of the day my first Cabbage Patch doll arrived is still so vivid in my mind. My bedroom was small, and my bed took up most of the space leaving just a few inches between it and the wall. Enough room, though, for my parents to hide my doll so I didn't see it right away when I returned home from school. Only the top of the box caught my attention. I sat on my bed looking at my treasure through the clear plastic front. She was a girl with sandy blonde braids, curly bangs, and a dress with a white top and flowered red skirt. Freckles were sprinkled over her nose and cheeks, and she had a tan complexion. Her name was Diana.
I still have her. Actually I have still have all three of my Cabbage Patch dolls, but I do not recall as much about the other two as I do Diana because by the time I got them the dolls were in every toy store in America. I could walk down the aisle and do the choosing for myself. The unique experience - the surprise element - had been taken away.
I think that is what I am most grateful about living a simple life in a small town. Experiences have the potential of remaining special. If I had the chance to go to a movie any time I want because there was a theater right down the road, I know I wouldn't feel the way I did visiting the drive-in with my husband. It becomes routine. Normal. Mundane. Expected.
I pray I take this warm feeling of uniqueness, memorability, and touching romance and apply it to everything in my life. I pray it will seep into the mundane, the norm, the routine, the expected and light them up again, bring back the feelings of all the "firsts." Every day is new. No day is ever a repeat. Yesterday's sunrise is not the same as today's sunrise. It's all in how we look at it.
Lord, I pray for eyes to see newness every morning and throughout each day. I pray for a soft heart that continues to warm at the simple things in life.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.