It was a lovely Sunday in August. A perfect day! It felt like the kind of day that would be wasted if not spent out of doors. We decided to be spontaneous and head out for a picnic at Gifford Pinchot State Park rather than go to church.
It is so hard to be spontaneous with 8 children! We had to think about clothes and swim suits and towels, diaper bags and nursing pillows and bibs, strollers and chairs and food. The children were all excited to help, so the preparations went quickly. Probably the biggest hurdle was myself. My very non-spontaneous self. I fretted about this and that, what I would wear that I wouldn’t feel ugly in at the “beach”, what I would feed the baby, how much of the day we had already wasted by sleeping in and taking our time.
Chris took me and looked me in the eyes, “You don’t need to stress. Just enjoy this day.”
I was determined to put all worries out of my mind and sincerely try.
The drive felt incredibly long because of closed roads, a crying baby, and a screaming teenage girl (who acts more like a three year old with her special needs). Chris and I decided to laugh through it, hoping it wasn’t an indication of what to expect on this outing.
The park was beautiful! We found a half circle of picnic tables under a tree and staked our claim. Then we went down to the lake to watch the children swim in the murky water. They had a wonderful time! I stuck my feet in but didn’t relish the slimy feeling of the bottom. We took a break and ate our lunch. Everyone was still happy, so we went back to the water. This time we took camping chairs and sat under the shade of a tree.
I looked out on the lake, full of joyful children. The sounds of laughter and splashing floated through the air. The sky was blue. The sun was shining. The trees surrounding the lake were beautiful.
A cool breeze kissed my face, and I felt the presence of God.
“He is right here, right now,” I thought to myself. “He is filling me, surrounding me.”
Then it struck me – THIS IS IT!
This is what I had been longing for all spring and summer. I had hoped for a getaway to the ocean. True, this was no ocean with pounding waves and sandy beaches. There was only a small cement embankment to separate the grass from the water. But it was perfect!
THIS WAS IT!
This was the rest.
This was the vacation I had been envisioning, praying for, hoping would come. I didn’t have to wait for a perfect moment in the future. I had my heart’s desire RIGHT NOW! I wanted to just sit in the peace, to enjoy it as long as I could. I sent up a quick prayer that none of my children would get hurt and come running to me with shrieks and bloody appendages. A few more minutes passed and the peace remained. The park was crowded with people on such a lovely day, but everyone was friendly and having fun.
Then a new group arrived and set up a very large speaker which began blasting hip-hop music. “No big deal, it is still a perfect day,” I tried to tell myself even as my annoyance grew.
“Why do these people think that everyone here wants to listen to their music,” I thought to myself. “I would be so embarrassed to intrude on everyone’s gorgeous day like that!”
Just then a new sound came through the speaker. A ukulele. The sweet and soothing ukulele version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” which had always been a favorite of mine. It brings the joy of dreaming and the contentment of dreams come true. In a season of broken dreams, I had avoided the song, as it had become very melancholy to me.
But today it was the finishing touch on this “dream come true moment” that God had orchestrated for me.
No, I wasn’t at the beach. I didn’t have all my goals accomplished or all of my concerns taken care of. It was simply…