Sometimes one thing leads to another, and that one leads to another, and then another leads to another, and it can just be amazing to go back and look at the picture created. This is what I’m seeing today. I hope I can connect all the “things and anothers” as I try to show you the beautiful picture created by God.
It started yesterday evening when Aaron went with me to Dillon’s. When we left the store and were getting into the van, the handle of my crossbody purse somehow knocked off my earring as I moved it over my head. I found the back of the earring as it poked my skin. Yep, it had gone down my shirt somehow. But nowhere in sight was my earring. I hurriedly searched for it, and so did Aaron, but we couldn’t find it. I told him not to worry, because things like this can worry him, and off we drove to pick up some pizza for supper.
Still no earring appeared as we got out of the van at home, and I searched around some more for it. “Oh well,” I told Aaron. “It’ll show up when we least expect it…..or when I clean the van, sometime in the far off future.”
We sat down to eat and Aaron asked the blessing. His before-meal prayers, 99% of the time, contain two statements. What he says varies depending on the day and the current events of our life, but very rarely does he say more than two things. This prayer was no exception.
“Dear Lord,” Aaron began. “Thank you for the pizza. And please help us find Mom’s earring.”
I told Aaron it was wonderful to pray about the lost earring, and assured him that God loves to hear those requests. And don’t you know that a short time later Gary went out to the van to conduct his own search, and he found my earring! You should have seen Aaron’s face when I showed him that I was now wearing TWO earrings! And then when I told him that God had answered his prayer! Aaron’s face lit up like the sun. It was priceless!
So the lost earring led to Aaron praying, which led to God answering in a sweet way, which led to……I trust……Aaron seeing how wonderful it is to pray about everything.
It was a good thing for Gary and I to see, as well.
Then came today, which in comparison to what some others are enduring was really nothing. But in the moment it was, for Aaron and for me, pretty awful.
I want to preserve Aaron’s dignity in this. I needed to take him down to the air base to have a urine test repeated this morning. I told him to use the bathroom when he got out of bed, and then by the time he drank his coffee and we got to the lab, he would need to go again. I rehearsed the procedure with him as we drove to the base. All was well.
That was short lived. As Aaron got out of the van at the clinic, I saw that he was doing what I call “The Potty Walk.” I was concerned, but he assured me that he could wait until he was in the lab bathroom, cup in hand.
We walked up to the lab window, where the lone lab worker was a little harried. I heard a door close and looked around to see that Aaron had already entered the bathroom…..NO cup in hand. I told the harried lab worker to hold on as I scurried to the bathroom and opened the door…..to find Aaron preparing to go.
“NO, Aaron,” I tried to whisper as I closed the door. “Please, can you just wait until I get the cup??!!”
I rushed outside, went up to the window again, where the lone lab woman was realizing my dilemma and was trying her best to get Aaron’s info sticker onto his cup…..the cup he still wasn’t holding! She slapped it on, and I quickly zoomed into the bathroom……to the most awful sight.
Let’s just say it appeared that the plumbing had sprung a huge leak, but the toilet and sink plumbing were fine. Aaron’s, however, was not fine.
We got the sample somehow, but it’s probably not the best. I wasn’t the best, either. Such a mess! I didn’t know what to do but to try to clean it up, mostly in an effort not to embarrass Aaron by having to tell the poor harried lab woman, in front of others, what had happened. I had Aaron standing in the corner of the bathroom and kept telling him not to talk, because he talks so loudly that I knew everyone outside would hear. Like they didn’t already guess what was going on in that bathroom! “How many paper towels do they need in there?” everybody must have been wondering as they heard the automatic dispenser churn out towel after towel.
And poor Aaron. His shorts were very obviously wet, and we had to walk out past people in the lab waiting room and in other areas as we left the clinic. I waited for a few minutes after leaving the bathroom to see if the lab worker needed anything else from us, while Aaron hid behind the bathroom door. Finally, we just left. I felt like it was a walk of shame for dear Aaron. And I was a mess of emotions…..very sorry for Aaron, and embarrassed, and just weak from all of it.
The plan had been to take Aaron to Paradigm for his day, but instead we just drove home. I really wanted to cry. I stole glances at Aaron. He was very serious, and very sorry, and very quiet. That made me want to cry even more.
He turned on his music, of course. It was the Zac Brown Band. As we drove along the highway, song #4 and song #5 came on, Aaron checking the back of the CD box to confirm the title of each song as he always does. Then came song #6, which is more of a rock song, and one I don’t like. I was in NO mood for that today, so I used the button on the steering wheel to quickly go to song #7. Aaron didn’t seem to notice, which was good.
Oh, but never underestimate Aaron. It wasn’t long before he realized that song #5 had played, and now song #7 was playing. What happened to song #6?
“Mom, did you go past song #6?” he asked. I confessed. He asked why, and I told him, and he was fine with that.
As we kept heading toward home, I thought of how nice it would be if we could fast forward through parts of our life. I would certainly have fast forwarded through this bad morning!
When we got home, Aaron showered and changed clothes. Then he went with me to Aldi and to Dillon’s, even though I kind of wanted some time alone. But once there, Aaron and I enjoyed the shopping, especially looking for what we needed for the lasagna he wanted for supper. He helped bag the groceries and carry them. He carried the heavy bag of dog food I got when we stopped at the vet, and he talked to Misha about Spiderman and about Star Trek, which always cheers Aaron up. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t taken Aaron with me.
Then at Dillon’s, Aaron saw one of the workers that we know as we checked out. She stopped to talk to us before we left. Her life is hard, always full of trouble, it seems……and today was certainly no exception as she shared some things with me. As she talked, Aaron just stood there listening quietly to every word. As we left, I told her that I would pray for her.
“Does she have a heartache?” Aaron asked me as we walked out the door.
I was so surprised at his question, but more at his insight and the empathy he showed as we talked together about her.
And then later, the best part. We sat down to a lunch of leftover pizza, and again Aaron prayed as we held hands.
“Dear Lord, thank you for the pizza. And help B have a good heart.”
Wow. Just wow.
Aaron usually prays for Aaron, and on a good day he might pray about my earring. But to pray for this friend that we really don’t deeply know……now that was touching and dear and so impacting.
That would never have happened if Aaron had not been with me…..and he would not have been with me if not for the awful lab experience earlier.
If I had been allowed to fast forward through our terrible morning in order to preserve us from that bad time, then we would not have had this amazing and very good time. This sweet time of Aaron genuinely listening to another person share her pain, and then genuinely caring enough to genuinely ask God to help her have a good heart.
So you see, one thing does lead to another which leads to another which leads to yet another. Did Aaron’s answered prayer last night encourage him to pray for our friend today? I think it did. Then his bathroom accident allowed him to be with me to offer help today, and especially to be with me to listen to a hurting friend who needs his prayers.
We all have those times in life when we want to skip song #6 and go right on to song #7……when we want to fast forward through the pain we’re facing and be done with it, moving on to other better things.
But with God, His one thing that leads to another thing that leads to the other thing is what’s best for us. It’s a good thing that He doesn’t allow us to fast forward, as hard and as terrible as some of the things are that we face. He works all of it out for good if we let Him.
Help all of us have a good heart, Lord.
And help us not push the fast forward button.