For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
It was the great adventure. I don’t know what your experiences with going to grandmother’s house were like…but mine, well, it was a great adventure. Granddaddy and Grandmother lived in Gainesville, Florida and we lived on the west side of Jacksonville. And, more than occasionally, we would load up in our car and drive down to Grandmother’s house. It’s funny…it was never Granddaddy’s house…it always seemed to belong to her.
When we got there, we have our time of greeting and then, usually, there would be work to be done…at least for Daddy and me and our domain was the yard. Grandmother had some beautiful flowers and my Daddy loved flowers too. We would walk around the yard admiring the handiwork of our Creator and planning what needed to be done. And, before long, we would get to work. There was weeding, mowing, picking up debris left over from the last Florida “frog strangler rain” and a host of other chores. Fortunately, it wasn’t an all-day deal because there were adventures waiting.
Grandmother’s house was located on a main street but in a quiet neighborhood. From the large front porch, with large white rockers, you could sit and watch the traffic go by. If you went out the back door, there was the quiet world of the garden. Beside the house was one of those narrow side streets that you only travelled if you knew it was there. We went down that road and the blocks behind the house to collect coke bottles for the two-cent deposit. Two cents meant two pieces of penny candy…what a bargain. Besides the bottles, there was another treasure trove that we visited every time we visited Grandmother.
I remember we would go into the backyard and there was trail of sorts going through some woods. At the other end of the trail, on the next block, sat a small warehouse. Today I suppose you would call it a large storage shed. To my sisters and me it was heaven. A man had a Jewel Tea franchise and that was where he stored his merchandise. And right next to the building was a pile…a glorious pile of…stuff. It was like having our own treasure chest except there wasn’t a chest. It was all there, free, for the taking.
What was there? Well, there were all kinds of items…things for the house or for personal care. Honestly, you never knew what you were going to find…it was the great adventure. It was not uncommon for there to be candy and snacks. Now keep in mind this was in the sixties and everything was still wrapped up tight. We would have a ball pilfering through the pile. Sometimes of course there wouldn’t be anything but the anticipation of going to the Jewel Tea warehouse was so exciting. The only thing better than finding bottles and collecting our two cents each, was finding the mother lode at the warehouse.
Perhaps you can’t imagine rummaging through a pile of boxes left outside. Perhaps you can’t imagine opening some candy someone had discarded but somehow, someway, it just seemed ok and normal back then. It really was the great adventure. We didn’t have a lot and because of that we didn’t get a lot so when you could find bottles and get two cents or when you could get something for free…well, it was pretty good day.
Somehow, I missed those days…days of simplicity…days of being satisfied with little and needing less. These days we are surrounded by so much and yet today, enough never seems to be quite enough. What used to fill our cups seems now to be but a drop in the bucket. I think we have lost our way…detoured down a road of discontentment where sunrises are ignored, and a beautiful flower missed as we rush by. Love notes from our Dearest Daddy, strategically placed along our paths, go unread. We need to slow down, we need to smell the roses, we need to read the notes.
Today, this day, why don’t we make a conscious decision to find something simple and marvel in it again and why don’t we start with a simple fact. And what fact is that? It is that God so loved this broken, crazy world we call home, so much that He allowed, He sent, His Son into it and made a promise. The promise is anyone who believes in Him can have eternal life. Think about that. Loved by God with heaven thrown in…now that’s a good day. And if you need a booster shot of “feel good,” just remember this. No matter what comes your way today…well, He’s got it. Bro. Dewayne