Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Best Day Ever
previously published in the Christian Courier
“This is the best day ever!” exclaimed my five year old daughter as we headed to church on Sunday. These words stuck in my mind as I was preoccupied in thought. Exactly a week prior our family helped move a family of 7 to a northern community 8 hours away. This family had been in our house group for three years and their two oldest kids were my daughter’s playmates. They were bff’s (best friends forever). Our daughter is an only child and so the friendship that these kids have had has been an incredible blessing and gift to us as parents and it filled a need for our daughter. Needless to say we were all missing their presence and we knew that Sunday’s would be the hardest for our daughter.
So, as she pronounced this to be the “best day ever”, I wondered what was going on in her mind. Did she not remember that her best friends would not be there? There she was getting herself dressed and ready with a smile and a song in her heart. She was literally overjoyed and I was taken back. I asked her why it was the best day ever and she said, “Daddy, I am going to be the teacher’s helper in Sunday School today.” She could hardly control her enthusiasm and she even chose her clothes saying that this is what a helper would wear.
I didn’t ask her if she was missing her friends, or if she even remembered that they would not be there, I just let her be in her joyful state. I watched her as she went down to the class grinning from ear to ear. There were no outward tears or eyes searching for her friends, no it was Sunday as usual and she went downstairs with her teacher without a care in the world.
I know that she is processing in her own way the loss of her friends. It takes her a while for her to voice her thoughts and emotions and so we patiently wait. Though technology has grown and given us the ability to foster continued connection via skype and face time, this isn’t the same for a young child who needs the tangible in person connection with another person. Yet, somehow I wonder if my daughter gets this realization that life goes on and she is not going to let this stop her from the next thing God has for her to do. Even at her age God has a plan and purpose for her and we see her embracing this call of service unto the Lord. It seems that she is oblivious to the missing and just steps into the next phase of life.
As I watched my daughter’s behaviour, I had to ask myself some questions. Do I believe the plans and purposes for my life in the midst of loss? Can I in childlike faith be just as excited as our daughter was in the next step of the adventure of serving God? Or do I in the midst of change lose sight of what God wants to do next? To be perfectly honest, I know that this is a challenge for me and during times of change I can lose my enthusiasm and forget that God is good and does have new things for me. I can get stuck in the memories of what I am missing and lose sight of the new all around me. New people who will join our house group, new families to meet and foster friendship and new and creative ways to stay intentionally connected with this family. Rather than fight these changes I can learn from my daughter that faith like a child is simplistically wonderful.
The truth of the matter is that life goes on and thankfully, God’s grace and mercy is new to us every morning, giving us the ability to face each and every day as a gift. Our challenge is to look for the new adventures, the plans and purposes that God has for us each and every day. With change, there will be the natural missing, especially when people move on to other places, but we can’t get stuck there, we have to press on to find the treasures around us. With faith like a child and no matter what we face, we can enthusiastically proclaim to those around us that “Yes, this is the best day ever!”