Friday poured rain.
It was the first day I felt like I had a little strength after being sick for the few prior. So when I picked up the kids from school, I was itching to get out of the house and do something fun with them.
We headed toward the $2 theater that plays all the family-friendly movies several months after they've disappeared every place else. The re-release of The Lion King was waiting for us in all it's musical glory.
But we had an issue at the door. I really needed to bring in my hot tea. And I mean I really needed it. My scratchy throat needed it, and my sanity needed it. It had been another bad week, which had followed a bad week, all due to sickness rotating in our house for way too long. And that warm cup in my hand was like my security blanket at that point. But the teen working the popcorn counter said I needed to throw it away. No outside drinks were allowed. I couldn't go "past the podium" with it.
So we wandered a little in the foyer while I decided whether or not I was going to obey her and trash the fresh, giant hot tea I just bought next door. I paced the tile floor, my rain boots squeaking with each step. Once, I heard her shout, "Ma'am! You CAN'T go past the podium!" Exasperation welled as I shouted back over the heads in line for candy, "WHAT PODIUM!?" I didn't know what she was talking about, and God knows I was only pretending to care.
Then I started to seethe, just a bit. She has no idea. She's never been a mother! She hasn't ever survived two weeks of kids and husband with the flu. She's never subsisted off of Saltines for two weeks, breathing nothing but Lysol in every room. She certainly has NO idea how much I need that cup of chamomile and to just enjoy a freakin' Disney movie with my kids! I paced some more. I may have had grace on Thursday, but it was Friday and I was about to let her have it.
So what did I do? Decided my reasons trumped the law. Waited until the curly-haired concessions seller turned her back, and hid my cup under my son's coat. Yes. I. did. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Those measures being a blatant disregard for modeling rule-following and honesty. I happily sipped that thing through the whole movie. And it was delightful.
On the way home, the grey skies were lifting. In fact, though the rainy darkness loomed overhead, off in the distance was blue sky and billowing white clouds. The grand ones. The breathtaking ones. And we were headed right for them. But I didn't see them. I was feeling the fatigue of the outing, slightly dizzy and wondering if I'd overestimated my wellness. And trying to let go of the mom-fail scenario back at concessions.
It was my daughter who saw where we were headed first. "Mom! Don't those clouds look like Jesus could just come down through right now riding a beautiful horse?" Her words flashed so bright into my fog that I wanted to crumple up and weep and pray that it could be so. Right now, Jesus, would be just fine with me. I said, "Yes, wouldn't that be awesome?" pushing a cheery smile into my tone.
I wanted to weep because I was weary, yes. But also because she doesn't even know the Bible well enough to know what she knows. I wanted to weep because God has hidden truth from those who think themselves wise, and revealed it to little children (Matthew 11:25). It is shocking to hear wisdom from children, isn't it? Startling, humbling.
To my knowledge, she doesn't yet know about this passage:
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war...On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords."
Revelation 19: 11-16
(Did you know about this? Jesus may in fact have words engraved on his skin, sort of tattoo-ish, huh? Don't get mad at me. I learned about that from this incredible book.)
I'm sure she and I have talked about this.
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But it was the first thing she thought of when she saw the clouds. Jesus coming for us.
I call that expectant. I want to be expectant, don't you? Particularly on the foggy days, when it's pouring, and I can't even think straight. I want to look past the haze, notice white puffy clouds in the distance, and expect to see Him coming.
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
That phrase "stay awake" has also been translated "be prepared" and "be watchful." These are expressions of expectation, phrases that exhort us to remember at all moments that our Lord is in fact coming.
And something about that truth makes all the curly-haired concessions sellers, all the Lysol, all the coughing, and all the tears in all the world vanish like storm clouds in the light of the sun.