The girls wore fancy, blue feathered barrettes in their hair as they pranced down the driveway in their white stockings and pretty dresses. We had never walked to church together before and I believe it was an adventure for all of us.
After the service was over, we walked home but the weather had warmed up and the little girls didn't need their coats buttoned. They ran ahead of me, the skirts of their dresses bouncing as they easily tackled the hill in our driveway.
Alyssa, seemed more like a little fairy princess in her puffy dress in the distance as she stood at the top of the hill and looked back down at me and waved. I continued to trudge along.
As I walked, I thought of the woman I saw on television a couple of weeks before who was in her 80's and was still spinning and jumping on the ice as she skated gracefully through her life with the figure of a young girl. I watched as Shyanne ran to catch up with her sister and thought that if I had taken care of myself I would have no trouble running up the hill too. How out of shape I had let myself become and that was not what God intended for me.
I said a prayer then. I remember it because it was concise and to the point.
"God, forgive me for not taking better care of myself mentally, physically and spiritually throughout the years and please help me to be more conscious of my choices and make better decisions."
It's an excellent thing to have little children around you to remind you of the freshness and possibilities of a new day and to remind you how quickly time slips away. It's good to learn from the stages of life around us.
After a lunch of chicken salad, carrots and cheese we rested then went outside to play. I washed off the old Frisbee and me and the girls threw it awkwardly towards one another--me (an old hand at Frisbee and a fairly good throw) being sure not to sling the disc too hard toward them and them not caring because it never got anywhere near me anyway.
The youngest, Shyanne, who has a very strong will and tries it out on the world around her with a boldness that is laughable only because she is so tiny, announced that from now on we were supposed to throw the Frisbee from the place we picked it up. It was an interesting rule she wanted to make and showed the four-year-old's keen mind but I could tell Alyssa wasn't wanting to abide by her rules so I stated diplomatically that we would just continue throwing it from where we wanted but she could could throw from where she wanted. Of course, Shyanne didn't like my pronouncement but since I was bigger than her and she couldn't make me abide by her rule, she gave up. (If the conditions had been otherwise, I'm convinced she would have had her way whether I liked it or not.)
A few moments later she said she was quitting and announced that because she didn't want to play anymore, it meant Alyssa and I had to quit too. I informed her in my best grandmother-is-having-fun-with-you way that she was not the boss of me. I couldn't help but laugh at the little sprite's big ideas as Alyssa and I continued to throw the Frisbee.
But Shyanne was not done. Not only did she out-wit me but she told me why. With little arms crossed and a stubborn, tiny, Shirley Temple-like pout on her four-year-old face, she approached me and explained. "You have to quit because I put you in time-out and now I'm the boss!"
After a good laugh, I explained to Shyanne that Alyssa and I were going to keep playing and we did. It was important for her to learn she couldn't put Granny Gigi in time-out and become the boss.
But the spiritual analogy was not lost on me that day. How many times had I stood--tiny and small before the God of the universe and declared that my way was best? How many times had I tried to put Him in "time out" by refusing to follow His will because I wanted to be the boss?
Most of the world will not admit this is a fitting comparrison. People are too busy blaming God for the evil in the world. They shake their fists and demand to know how a loving God could let bad things happen. I think the more interesting question is this though: How different would this world be if we had listened to Him in the first place?
And that's the way I see it from this catbird seat...