Let the Good Times Roll
Recently I was challenged to list experiences of joy in my life.
The first one that surfaced involved our family of four driving across the desert to reach southern California. Our car did not have air conditioning; instead we used a contraption strapped to a window that in theory blew cool air into the car. The execution was not as successful as the concept.
In order to survive the temperature my Dad elected to drive at night. To further fortify him we stopped at a convenience store and bought a bag of crushed ice. This ice was not to consume, but to put down our shirts and blouses, stuff in our pockets and socks and any other places we could think of to keep us cool. Though it is hot where I come from, this type of activity was not allowed at home. But here, as we tooled across the state, seeing miles of nothing but stars, it became an acceptable activity. Initially our clothing was ice cold, but then just wet. I don’t know how hot it was or how long it took, but I do remember it was fun. And that made a great memory.
Another memory involved frigid water, but this water got its frosty feel naturally. We traveled to a camping area on the foothills of the mountains. There my Dad fished in the coldest stream I have experienced. He stood in the shallow river with wading boots. I stood with him in tennis shoes as soggy as could be. Being quite young and the rocks quite slippery I had trouble remaining upright and clung to his pant legs to stay erect. But there I was “fishing” with Dad. He caught fish. I caught a memory.
My final recollection involves a bakery truck. Again we were on vacation and stopped at a restaurant. As we came out and headed to the car a truck pulled up and opened the back door. Peering inside I saw racks and racks of pastries, cookies, cakes, and pies, delectable beyond imagination. I immediately had job envy. Driving these items around all day I could envision reaching in the back for a quick bite. What a treat. My mom later said she had never seen my eyes so big.
As I looked at these experiences of joy I looked for what they had in common. First, they all involved presence. We were present in body, but also in mind and heart. Being on vacation allowed us to shed the angst of daily living and focus on the here and now. Our full attention was on the experience and the relationship. Second, they all involved simple activities. None of this joy cost money. There were no midway rides or other extravagant entertainment. And finally they were unexpected. The icey car, the frigid water, the bakery truck were all unplanned experiences. It was their uniqueness that helped make them joyful.
I challenge you to sit and ponder a few memories. See where God will take you as you spend an afternoon just letting the good times roll.