I decided to make this a "Grandma Lyn, Mom and Lia" event since Gwen loves these shows also. Lia was extremely excited when we got to the train station to catch the train to the Chicago and she saw a billboard for Aladdin!
We had a bit of concern when the train we wanted to take into the city was delayed with "track construction". First the announcement was 10 to 20 minutes late. Then there was an announcement that the train was not yet moving. In order to make the show we knew that we needed to be on the train by 11:45. If the train had not come by that time, we would be forced to drive into Chicago and try to find parking. It could have made for a tense trip. But thankfully the train arrived at 11;30 and we made it into Chicago in plenty of time. We grabbed a quick fast food lunch and ate outside overlooking the Chicago river. We had perfect weather - sunny and it was actually a bit cool with a strong breeze.
The show was amazing. Lia was pretty much mesmerized through the entire production. There is a major difference between the Broadway productions and some of the other shows I have seen. The music, acting, special effects, costumes - really everything was top notch. Our train ride home was uneventful and we arrived back only a few minutes late. Such a wonderful experience with Lia.
As I was driving home after this memory making day, I reflected on just how fast these 11 years have gone by! Lia is my oldest grandchild and it really doesn't seem possible that I have been "Grandma Lyn" for that long.
Shortly after I started home, while stopped at a stop light, a seriously silly thing happened. A car pulled up on the left side of my car and a man jumped out of the front seat. He was wearing cut off jean shorts, a tie dyed shirt and a bandana tied around his head like a headband. He proceeded to dance in the middle of the road! There was rock music from the 60's playing from the open windows of the car, and several occupants of that car were laughing and clapping for him. My immediate though was , "Wow, that is something that you don't see everyday!" As the light changed, he hopped back into the car and they sped away. I was chuckling about this event, which seemed very 1970's, for the next several miles and thinking about some of the crazy things I had witnessed and participated in oh so many years ago. And then, unbelievably I witnessed a "Chinese Fire drill" at another stop light! If you are not familiar with this, everyone jumps out of the car and runs around the car and then gets back in. I am sure that my jaw was on the ground watching this. I don't recall the last time I actually saw this happen. By now, I had begun to wonder if I had stepped into some kind of odd time warp and had been transported back to the 1970's! So at this point, my day had certainly had some adventures that are out of the norm for me. My drive home was not over yet and even now I find it hard to comprehend that I saw ANOTHER "Chinese Fire Drill" happen in the drive through lane of the Dairy Queen near my house. How crazy is that?
Today this crazy-silly end to my wonderful day is making more sense. Without realizing it, I had started to feel really OLD! My thoughts had been shifting to the swift passage of time and wondering just how many more of these memory making experiences I would be able to have with my grandchildren. I would even have to admit to being fearful of the future. It is never worthwhile to focus on these kind of things. None of knows the length of our days and we are charged to live everyday with purpose. I truly believe that those silly events I witnessed on the way home, were a gift for me. It allowed me to let go of those depressing thoughts and to focus on the truth of the day - time and memories with Lia and Gwen. And it made me laugh!
The whole process of "taking our thoughts captive" is certainly a challenge. I am so thankful that I have progressed and don't allow these thoughts to live in my mind for days and days or even weeks and weeks as I had in the past. More often than not, I can catch myself and stop these thoughts from taking over. But this is a life-long process that has to be practiced! I am reminded of this Bible passage from the Passion Translation.... Philippians 4:8
"So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and king. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always."
I am incredibly grateful that sometimes the Holy Spirit finds ways to break into those ugly and untrue and even hurtful thoughts to remind me to "Stop thinking that way!" I especially love that God will even use a man doing a silly dance on the road and several groups of young people acting like typical kids and pulling off a time worn stunt to get my attention and make me smile.
Jesus, thank you for a wonderful, glorious day with Lia and Gwen. Holy Spirit, continue to remind me to be aware of my thoughts. Thank you for singing and dancing, for big wonderful shows in impressive theaters and for silly dances on streets. Jesus, thank you for extra grace when we need it during the process of life. Amen