My best friend and I would look for any excuse to go into town. We would go up to the bus stop, catch the bus and enjoy all of the stops along the way, especially when it stopped by the Medical School! We’d gaze out the windows with our hearts aflutter as we watched the good-looking, male medical students in their uniforms.
Life was grand! Our childhood was idyllic, joyful, playful, imaginative and fun. Just above the large tree on the right was a terrace where 2 of my friends and I pretended that we were the, “White Sisters,” and we’d have our concerts for any and all who passed by. To this day, my friend still mentions it in my birthday cards.
The sidewalk along the big house had a gap to run and jump over to get on top of the water tank. If you managed to make the jump without scraping the entire front length of your body on it as you slipped down the side of it, you were a, “Big Kid,” moving out of the ranks of, “Little Kid.”
The 2 trees that look alike were where a boy and I would climb way up to the tippy-tops and sit on branches too thin to really hold us safely, and we would sway in the breeze up there!
The swing in this tree holds so many memories! The boys always dared us girls to see who was brave enough to swing as high as we could swing, then jump out at the high point onto the sloping ground beneath. Once, a bird decided to use his bathroom above the swing while my brother was playing there, and a very special memory was when my sister fell in love with the man who is now her husband, right there at that swing.
We were missionary kids, growing up together, spending nearly every moment of each day together, making memories to last a lifetime. We would fight until our parents would make us separate for an hour before we could get together to play again!
Sometimes, I feel like that is all that is left of my childhood – memories, and even then, only when I am brave enough to pull them up and cherish them. Growing up is difficult. Even though I met a God-given man and had 3 beautiful children, many times, juggling all of the responsibilities seemed heavy. Financial stresses, medical problems, broken hearts, moving to new homes, issues in the churches we’ve pastored, and more – all deemed to make me forget the pleasurable memories of my childhood. As I’ve grown older, new joys such as my children getting out on their own and marrying, cross with health issues of my parents, and the death of my father. There are joys and sorrows in the work we do in our ministry, some that leave us reeling in shock, others, such as the birth of precious, little ones, bringing so much joy.
Such is life. The beauty and innocence of childhood, the trauma of adulthood – joy and sadness, gladness and pain. Life.
One day, we never know when, each one of us will move from this life into the next. It is our choice to determine whether our next life will be one of glorious freedom and delight, or if we will be doomed. How we choose to live our lives determines the next. If we choose never to grow up in this life, never to face what comes our way, only to party and play, we are making our choice. Even though we should enjoy life to its fullest, with adulthood comes responsibilities, disciplines, a time to put away the things of childhood – to leave them there as precious memories – and to live in a manner that assures us that our next life will be one of total joy!
1 Corinthians 13:11
11 When we were children,
we thought and reasoned
as children do.
But when we grew up,
we quit our childish ways.
“Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.”
46 Then Jesus said, “Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.”
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
2 Timothy 4:7-10
7 I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. 8 So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power.