When I told the kids to get dressed because we were going for a walk, I wasn't expecting Judah's response, but I wasn't fully surprised. His shoulders sunk, "Do I have to?"
"Yes!" I said, perhaps a little more annoyed than I needed to be, but this attitude was pretty invasive the past few days and I was (and still am) pretty tired of it.
"I just want to play with my lightsaber," he responded.
I was just about to make him come, with that, "Get your shoes on!" bark that gets every kid excited to hang out with Dad, but then I didn't. "Okay," I said, "You can stay and play with your lightsaber. But me and the girls are going and Mom is taking a nap." He began a rebuttal, but I stopped him, "Nope. You wanted your lightsaber, so now you have it."
The girls and I put on our shows, grabbed a few cameras, and headed out the door. Judah stayed home. Because sometimes, the worst of all consequences, is getting what you want.
For almost two hours, the girls and I walked our neighborhood. Each of the girls were allowed to take ten pictures at a time (I think they took over 100 by the time we were done). Sometimes we found similar inspirations:
The whole time, though, I missed Judah and thought about how much fun he would have had, what he was doing instead, and what I would say to him when we returned. When we got home, he was sitting on his bed, reading. I sat on the floor, below his world map, and we talked. I still didn't know exactly what I was going to say.
He said it wasn't much fun, being there without anyone there to play with him.
I told him I missed him, that I knew he would've enjoyed the walk, taking pictures, and being with us.
And then the Lord took over. He reminded me of Adam and Eve and the fruit, and Judah and I talked about how they too didn't see what the big deal was either, and how God let them make that choice - he let them get what they wanted. And how well that turned out.
He then showed me the map and gave me an idea for Judah - the bigger picture. "Judah," I said, turning and pointing at a small island, "imagine this is a baby's world, this little island here. This is his Mom, his Dad, and his family and home. It's what he understands, what he knows. But then," and I circled the larger area, "he turns 10, and he now understands that that little island makes up the greater land of Indonesia."
Judah nodded in understanding.
"What, do you think, his parents know?"
Judah circled all of Asia.
"Right," I said, "and what does God know?"
He circled the whole map. "And beyond," I said, "right?" And he agreed.
"Sometimes," I said, "When Mom and Dad ask you to do things you don't want to do, it’s because we see a bigger picture. We know what’s ahead, and what you need, so we are doing our best to help you, and to provide for you. Like when we ask you to do Saturday morning chores. It's not about the actual cleaning, it’s about teaching you to work and take responsibility. Or when we ask you to come inside when playing with friends. It's not about wanting to steal you away from a good time, it's about eating dinner, spending time with family, and getting enough rest for the busy day ahead. It's about the bigger picture." He nodded. We seemed to be on the same page.
Then, few minutes later, quite coincidently, we read the story of Abraham and Isaac, and of how they were asked to trust in a bigger picture. Even when, especially when, it seemed "crazy" (Eden's words, not mine).
Afterward, they were asked to think of a time when they might need to trust in the bigger picture. Judah wrote a story about kids trusting parents, Zion scribbled, and Eden drew two pictures:
When they were finished, we chatted and laughed at their stories and I quickly discovered that this lesson was not just for my kids. I had recently applied for a job and didn’t get it, because the principal “doesn’t like Skype interviews,” and I was pissed, because the job was perfect, in a perfect little town with a perfect little college where I could teach, take classes, and sign my kids up for some really cool shit! WHY WASN'T I GETTING THE JOB!!!
Maybe because I only see Indonesia. Not the world.
I too must trust that He who sees it all, has a plan. And it’s not to play alone with a lightsaber (I don’t think so anyway). But to put on my shoes and head out the door, trusting that he’ll guide and protect and care for the next step, every step of the way.
Wherever that may be.
Even if I only see this far ahead.