One of my dad’s favorite things to do was to prank people. When my Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Mike got married, dad wrote “Help Me” on my Uncle’s shoes so that when they knelt down to pray that’s what the congregation saw. Magic tricks with cards, fake winning lottery tickets, farting and holding the covers over your head and random jokes he heard from comedians were among some of the tricks up his sleeve.
One afternoon, Mom had gone off somewhere and left Jamie and I at home with Dad. I had a friend over so of course dad kind of teamed up with Jamie since he didn’t have a friend over. Any time mom left us home with dad it was almost guaranteed that he and Jamie were going to gang up on whoever else was there-luckily I had a friend over so I wasn’t alone. Kacie and I were in my room playing when all of a sudden something came flying in and my door was being slammed. We ran to the door to see what was going on and couldn’t open it. Someone was holding it shut from the outside. Out of nowhere this rancid smell hit our noses. We were gagging it was so awful. Dad and Jamie had put a towel at the base of the door so the smell couldn’t leak out. They had thrown a stink bomb into my room and locked us in there with it. Even though I was highly annoyed at the smell it was quite funny after the initial shock of the rotten egg smell. Looking back now, as crazy as it sounds, that is one of my fondest memories. Dad was doing something he loved to do-playing tricks-and I was getting his attention, just not in the way I had in mind.
Another one of my dad’s favorite things to do was to sit in his chair and watch old-time cowboy and indian movies-movies he’d seen a hundred times. BORING when there was a million and one other things to do on a Saturday morning. Jamie and I would be in our rooms, minding our own buisness, when Dad would call, “Hey, Stephanie, Jamie, come in here a minute.” We’d go in and sit down on the couch hoping it wouldn’t last too long. He’d say so and so a movie was on. Usually it was The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly-I must have seen that movie a thousand times growing up. He’d make us sit there for the whole entire movie. You had to be careful sitting in the living room watching tv with him though. He loved catching people off gaurd. You’d be sitting there, minding your own business, when next thing you know you’re being pegged in the head with a dirty sock that he’d just taken off his dirty foot. And if you were really lucky, (I’m being sarcastic) he’d make you rub his athlete’s foot in between his pinky and next toe. He sure did know how to irk my nerves back then. But knowing what I know now, I’d take those days back anyday. Even though the athletes foot thing was just down right disgusting, I was getting to spend time with him.
It’s always a lot easier to look back and only remember the hard times. It is definitely not as easy remembering all the good things. Honestly, I’ve forgotten a lot of them. Most of the time I only remember what he didn’t do rather than what all he did do. But the two stories above are something he did do and was present for and that’s not something he was good at later on when it truly mattered. I’m thankful for those memories, regardless of how weird they may seem to others. The same is true with God. It’s a lot easier to look back and question why God allowed that to happen or why He let me endure this pain or that breakup or this season of loneliness rather than remember all God has done for me and is continuing to do for me.
Dear Lord, I’m so thankful for all that you are doing in my life, even the things I don’t understand. I hope to remember that Your plans are greater than my plans and that Your ways are better than my ways-no matter the circumstance. Help me to see that when things don’t work out the way I want them to, that you have something far better planned for me. Also, when things seem unimportant or not worth remembering, help me to tune in to what is really valuable and in need of my attention in that moment. In Your name I pray, Amen!