“My mother had not had a hot meal for herself in fifteen years…” ~ Narrator, The Christmas Story

On the patio the girls threw the little white pops. Even Phoebe was able to explode the snaps. But in our pack of yellow boxes was also a “Not For Children” Mega Snaps. I got them out ready to pop a hole in the space-time continuum. My first throw was a rocket, but the white bag landed without report. So I went into stage two and stomped on it (little Phoebe would stomp two or three times, always missing, before picking them up and throwing again!).  But, still, nothing. Not even a tiny crack. So I grabbed another, but to no avail. Then another and another… the whole box was full of snap duds?! Is this “High Performance”?? Or maybe it was  a prank on adults – after all, we get to light all the other fireworks, maybe these “Mega Snaps” are a toddler’s payback!

Sitting around the table at the Coopers, with our two high energy girls and their three (two boys and a little girl), I wondered if this is what heaven will be like? After-all we must become like “little children”. They were laughing and enjoying – without concern about the future. Or, for that matter, they were not even concerned about getting food on their plates – something for mom and dad to do.

To be the dud. This kind of scared me. The dinner table chaos makes me nervous. I often wonder if either me or Megan will ever eat, which is lunacy – because in three minutes everyone is sitting eating. The problem is at this point, Phoebe will announce she is done and want down…

I like the calm. I need a little organization. The lack of structure makes me desperate. While a child lives in the moment, I am constantly thinking about the next moment. Wondering what is down life’s path.

Which is part of being an adult. We need to be forward thinking. We need to have goals and destinations. On a basic level, we should to make sure dinner plates get filled (and vegetables are eaten). On a larger scale, we need to plan for our kid’s college (both preparing financially and engendering in the child a desire to learn) … but all of this can produce skewed view – one where everything is dependent on me.

And this is why I feel desperate… because I can never be sure of achieving these goals. There is too much chance and evil and forgetfulness and … I can’t trust myself to make it happen.

But around the table children laughed and glowed and ate and praised and sang and … all while I scooped more shells and cheese (an amazing luxury for Ivy who only gets blue box). Ivy trusts me. And so does Phoebe. In time they will learn my flaws. Eventually I will no longer the one they trust. And I fear this moment, but in the end it will not matter.

In that end we will all find ourselves gathered around the table. There will be laughing and singing and in the chaos our plates will be filled. Not because one of us was organized. No. Instead we will all be children in the presence of our Father. We will let go of insecurities and fears. We will not worry about the future, becuase it will no longer be in our hands (was it ever?).

By faith we will freely relinquish control to live in the now… just as children.

But this is the part that causes me to pause. I like control. I like to organize and plan. I want to feel the reigns of destiny in my hands. And I am not alone in this feeling.

But, as Mega Snaps, we will find there was no power in our hands. Our grand schemes were just duds. Our successes and failures will fade away into tapestry. A painting about someone else. And in this we will relearn what children understand.

Life is not ours to manage, only to enjoy.

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