Jack has officially been banned from the master bedroom during daytime hours. Earlier this week as Leslie and I were preparing to go to bed I opened my nightstand to grab a tube of Chapstick. As I began to apply the Chapstick I noticed that the exposed surface was not smooth as it should be, rather it was rough and uneven with a large divot in the center of the tube. Upon further inspection I discovered what appeared to be teeth marks along the edges and inside my Chapstick. Quizzically I showed it to Leslie and she nonchalantly replied, “Oh yea, Jack said he ate some of your Chapstick. He came into the living room and told me, ‘Mommy, I ate pink.’” Jack was referring to the backup Chapstick I kept in my nightstand that was birthday cake flavored and just happened to be pink. Of course, Jack had seen a tube of pink candy-like substance and decided to partake. I’m not entirely certain what pleasure he derived from consuming the Chapstick because I happen to know for a fact that it does not taste very good. Fortunately Jack had not quite grasped the concept of twisting the bottom to force more Chapstick out the top so he was only able to get to the very top of the tube, the top that he could just squeeze his front two teeth into in order to sample the waxy substance contained therein.
Had it ended there I probably would not have been all too concerned, but come to find out after sampling the first tube of Chapstick he decided that one was not enough, he then proceeded to scour our bedroom where he found three other tubes of Chapstick that he promptly consumed… or at least consumed the parts that were accessible to him. I don’t know what drives and individual to consume that much Chapstick, especially considering that none that that stuff tastes anything like what they smell like. Combine this with the Cadbury Crème egg incident from last week and this has earned him a permanent ban from the master bedroom.
This past week brought us one of the most significant snowfalls of the season, a whopping four inches. Now before some of you get excited about four inches of snow, keep in mind that I live in upstate New York; they do not even delay school openings for four inches of snow. Nevertheless, we got four throughout the course of Monday and I couldn’t wait to get home because it was the first opportunity I had to really use my snowblower as it was meant to be used. It was a blast… of course, all the snow was gone two days later, but still, I got to use my snowblower on more than a light dusting of snow. It was awesome. That said, if things keep up like they have pretty much this entire winter, I’m going to wind up needing to mow my lawn in a couple of weeks. Those of you in the southern parts of the United States might be wondering why that is strange considering you may have been mowing your lawn through the winter, but here in New York we don’t usually break out the lawn mowers until late May or even early June..
This weekend I flew to Los Angeles with a buddy or mine to go to a big prayer gathering at the LA Memorial Coliseum. We left together early Friday morning and got to LA just before lunch time where we promptly checked into the hotel and then introduced ourselves to the wonderful experience that is El Salvadorian food. It is difficult to describe just exactly what a pupuso is but suffice it to say that it is a deep fried conglomeration of beans, cheese, pork, and corn batter. It was amazing. From there we walked a bit around the area surrounding our hotel, I was specifically looking for a rain poncho since it was projected to rain throughout most of the day Saturday and the LA Memorial Coliseum is an outdoor arena. Ultimately I was unsuccessful in my endeavors so we headed back to the hotel and hung around until dinner time. Then we grabbed the hotel shuttle and went to next door to the Staples Center where I had street tacos for dinner. If you think you are beginning to sense a trend in my food choices you would likely be correct. After dinner we once again tried to find a poncho but it would appear that this is not an item that is well stocked in the city of Los Angeles because every store I visited said, “Sorry, we’re sold out.” I have to believe that each one of these stores only stocks like three ponchos and at the first sign of rain Los Angelens flocked to their nearest stores and bought them like Southerners buy milk and bread every time the weatherman threatens snow. Poncholess, I decided to settle on the next best thing, a roll of 39 gallon trash bags… Oh yea, I was going to be cruising in style the next day.
Saturday we got up, packed our backpacks, and caught the hotel shuttle over to the Coliseum at 0700. The rest of the day we spent in prayer and worship… or most of it anyway. My trash bags ended up saving the day for me, my buddy, and approximately 19 other people in our immediate surroundings as the forecasted rain came on and off throughout the entire day. We were able to keep all of our stuff and ourselves dry by wrapping it and us with garbage bags. My buddy ended up knowing several people at the event, including the couple that eventually sat behind us. There was another lady at the event that we both knew from a previous lifetime that we knew was sitting in a certain section; several times throughout the day we left our seats and tried to locate her, always to no avail. Around 1630 we decided to make one last attempt to find this lady; leaving our bags in our seats and under the care of the couple behind us we made the trek around the stadium again. Once again our search wound up being fruitless. Upon our return I noticed that someone had occupied my seat and my backpack was nowhere to be seen. The couple providing overwatch looked at me curiously and asked, “Did you send a girl about chest high with long black hair to come pick up your bag?” I paled as they told me she had come by about five minutes earlier and then pointed in the direction she took off. Heading that direction I began to panic just slightly as I took inventory of everything that had been in my backpack, things like my laptop, my Kindle, and my passport (which I simply have just gotten in the habit of carrying). The material aspect was not as great of a concern as the somewhat irreplaceable amount of work stored on my laptop and in my notepad. I visited each exit gate and asked security personnel if they had seen a girl matching the description I was given and carrying a black trash bag, no luck. I’ll spare you the details of the next frantic 45 minutes, but eventually I found myself talking to two police officers and filing a report.
At this point I was devastated, I was in no mood to return to worship so I tried to find a quiet place where I could call Leslie. After I told her my story she prayed for me and encouraged me to go back into the stadium and try to finish out the day. Disheartened, I argued with God about why I did not feel like worshipping anymore and why I felt like I had a legitimate reason not to. Eventually I made my way back into the stadium and wrestled with myself to have a better attitude about the entire situation. I reminded myself that, even despite the loss of information (which was by far the greater loss), there are still any number of situations I have been in which have been worse. I also tried remembering that God was in control and that things always have a purpose… I’ll be honest, that felt like a pretty empty promise at that point. We are never promised that things won’t get hard (in fact, quite the opposite), but that was small comfort because I simply could not see the point… Why? I spent the next hour or two trying to get my heart back in the right place, it was tough and truthfully, I never really fully got there. Then, about 1900 I got a call on my cell from a California number, curious if security or lost and found had found something I rushed towards an exit and answered my phone.
“Hello,” I breathlessly answered.
“Is this Derrik?” came a tentative reply.
“Yes, what can I do for you?”
“I think I might have accidentally grabbed your bag.”
Sure enough, a friend had offered to grab this girl’s bag and she did realize the mistake until long afterwards. Upon discovering the mistake she dug through my bag and found one of my business cards, which I had just stocked back up on just before I left, and called the number listed on it, which happened to be my cell and which I miraculously heard ringing even amidst the noise coming from the stadium. Of course you can imagine my relief.
I don’t know if things would have turned out differently had I chosen not to work on my attitude. Skepticism leads me down the road that this was just a chance encounter, one of those things that just happen; Scripture indicates that there is no such thing as a chance encounter and that everything is part of a master plan. I will continue to trust that His Word remains true, even if I don’t always understand it completely but more importantly, regardless of my lot in life my heart will continue to sing it is well with my soul.