Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waiting on the Blessing

Chuck E. Cheese. The sight of that place never fails to release memories. And since it's right next to the fabric store where I frequently shop, the past is often revisited.
When the children were young, it seemed as though the second I thought about Chuck E. Cheese, my Suburban would fill with kids (mine and others). You probably know the drill. Once entering, your party's hands are stamped with the same number. The purpose of this is to prevent you from leaving with someone else's child. Like I was ever going to let that happen! It would have been far more beneficial had they stamped my hand with the number of children I brought in because I have been known to leave a place before everyone was back in the car. (My children would be happy to share these stories if you are interested in details.)
The next step is to surrender your credit card in exchange for a couple of pizzas and some tokens. Then the fun really starts. You pick a table in the center of the game room so that you can monitor every child you brought. The tokens are quickly replaced with tickets won, and just when you think it's all over, you have to stand in line to exchange the tickets for prizes.
This was always the worst part of the trip for me. The kids took so long to choose their loot, and understanding their excitement, I never tried to rush them along. They treasured the trinkets they had worked to earn.
Only one time do I remember my husband taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese without me. When they arrived home, I said, "Let's see the prizes! What did y'all get this time?"
"Nothing," they answered, "Daddy said you would bring us back to get the prizes."
I was then handed a bag full of tickets. I turned to my husband with a look that demanded an explanation. All I got was, "The line was too long."
At least he was honest. He could have justified his action, or lack thereof, as a lesson in delayed gratification. Rather than display disappointment over the outcome of the trip, the kids were already planning the next one. Their patience far exceeded mine.
Patience is a quality I hesitate praying for because I know the minute I do, I will be put in a position to exercise it. I want the line to move quickly, I want the results of my effort to be instantaneous, I want the problem to be resolved in 30 minutes like it is in sitcoms, and I don't want to attend a movie where the character I have grown to love dies at the end. I want happily ever after. Here. Now. Immediately.
But real live life doesn't always happen like that. Sometimes we can do all of the right things, pray the proper prayers, and still have to wait for the results. And this is when Galatians 6:9 becomes the promise to which we cling. "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."
The complete blessing of doing good may not be here, but there. It may not arrive now, but then. We might not see it immediately, but in a little while. On the other side of the sun, over the rainbow… in Heaven. But it will be worth the wait.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Consider the Lilies

My sweet nights of sleep are usually disturbed by the annoying sound of an alarm. Even with my eyes closed, I am able to locate my phone, the source of the sound, and silence this rude interrupter of dreams.
The phone once purchased for 'emergency use only' has, over a decade, evolved into my constant companion. It keeps track of my schedule, takes and stores pictures, gives me driving directions, holds my notes, and identifies songs on the radio . This small device also plays a large role in communication by sending and delivering email and text messages. Oh, and sometimes I even use it to make phone calls.
Once the alarm is quieted, it's my habit to check for text messages received after my abnormally early bedtime. Most often the messages are from either or both of my daughters, Elise and Victoria. The majority of the time, the messages alert me of changes in their regularly scheduled wake up calls. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, there is the unexpected. Like a photo of a daylily.
And that picture tells a story. A story which began around the time I received my first cell phone. A time when visits to my MawMaw Jello often included a walk to my Aunt Judy's yard so that I could see what new flowers were blooming.
I was always drawn to the lilies. Maybe it was because they bore my Nanny's name. Or because Jesus referred to them in Luke 12:27. Or possibly because they were just so big and bright and beautiful. Since each one displays its beauty for only a day, I never wanted to take their existence for granted. And I wanted some of my own.
Aunt Judy was eager to share. She pointed out the new young plants which were forming on the stalks laden with buds yet to bloom. "When these new plants are bigger, we'll just snap off the stalks and plant them in your yard." So we did. I gathered many of these miniature lilies and carefully planted them in my own bare garden. The winter months provided little hope of springtime lilies, but upon the advice of Aunt Judy, I didn't pull them up. I left the scraggly looking plants in place, unaware of the what was happening beneath the cold surface. Later on, when new life began to spring up again, so did the lilies, and the first of many yellow blooms dotted my landscape.
Last summer, as Monique and I were enjoying the daylilies that lined the picket fence in my backyard, I explained their origin and asked my daughter, "Would you like some for your house?" The process of expanding Aunt Judy's lilies to another yard was set in motion.
Just last week, Monique was excited to report the growth of the lilies. "Frank tried to pull them out during the winter, but I told him to leave them alone. I told him what you said. That we'd be tempted to yank them out because they would look dead, but to wait it out. And now they are green and growing."
So that's why I smiled when I opened my eyes and saw the photo of Monique's first daylily. That text brought more than a picture. It first tapped the MawMaw Jello portion of my memories, then took me to Aunt Judy's yard and our many conversations. That simple picture delivered a message of hope when things look dead, appreciation of the simple beauty in life, and the urge to spread both the message and the flowers.
I think I'll forward her photo and see if any one else is interested in a lily.
Ronny may be reached at