Lately I’ve been carrying a bag of rocks everywhere I go. It’s heavy. It affects my mood and can make me grumpy. My bag of rocks sits on my chest while I try to sleep and makes me toss and turn to try to get rid of it. It’s stickier than Crazy Glue, somehow.
Yeah, yeah, I know … “let go, let God.” Sing me another chorus from Frozen. “Just give it to God.” Thanks, got it!
My bag of rocks beeps at me on my phone and dings at me every time I boot up my computer. I’m sure you’ve felt the pressure of your own bag of rocks, right? It’s life. It happens. It’s totally normal. Sometimes you can set the bag down. Sometimes you can chuck the bag off a bridge. But, most of the time, you just have to deal with the rocks one at a time until they are gone.
I set my bag of rocks by the front door Sunday afternoon, climbed into my car and drove to New York City. (Well, I drove halfway and Robin took the second half.) We were heading to the city to celebrate with my son Josh and his wife Kristen. We were planning to blow through some of our savings, eat at fancy restaurants, tour the city a little and sleep on the floor of their tiny studio apartment on a futon mattress.
My bag of rocks tried hard to penetrate my thoughts but it couldn’t override what was happening.
On Tuesday morning we sat in a conference room and listened to a presentation from an accomplished young man. He went through charts and diagrams, he explained things with words we didn’t understand. He made his case to the 30 or so people who gathered. And then he fielded questions from his audience. We couldn’t understand the questions either. The man was brilliant, an engaging speaker and very handsome in his three piece, tailored suit. His presentation was titled, “Protein Lysine Methyltransferases: Substrates, Mechanism, and Transition States.” Seeing that my spelling checker doesn’t even know two of the words in his title makes me feel a little less dumb.
I have been looking at the presenter’s face for almost 27 years. I have been praying for him daily since before he was born. I have watched him move from Oshkosh overalls to Little League Baseball pants to Gibson Guitars to college sweatshirts with “Bates” printed on the front. Today he is a confident man in a suit.
After he finished his presentation his name changed a bit. People called him, “Dr. Linscott” and congratulated him. His friends told me how well he did in his presentation and assured me that he was impressive after he finished and was secluded with his committee. All I could think of was my little, round-headed boy with his giant blue eyes pleading, “just pitch one more bucket of balls, dad? Please?” We would spend hours on the baseball fields. My son has always been driven.
While we waited my mind went to memories of him singing, “I’m the Lamest” with his rock band. I saw him in a suit on his first real, big date. I flashed to him trying to build as a child with various toys and getting frustrated when his creation would topple.
And then, there is the image from when he saved my life. He showed it as an introduction to his presentation that morning. He is standing at my bedside holding my hand in a blue hospital gown just before going into surgery to give me half of his liver.
Now here in New York City, I watched my little boy with his colleagues, now a man. While he raised his champagne to offer a toast to all his labmates, I flashed back to a picture of his face in the middle of about a dozen of his 10-year-old baseball pals, all wearing their caps and looking over his birthday cake with giant smiles.
We walked to dinner behind he and his wife and I smiled because of the way they look at each other. So in love and on top of the world. I held my wife’s hand a bit tighter. I know her heart was just as full.
We drove home yesterday, enjoying our time together, with very satisfied hearts. Life is good. We have three great kids and so much to be thankful for.
On my way to the office this morning I bent over and picked up my bag of rocks. It’s just as heavy as when I left it but one or two of those rocks should be gone shortly. It will become more manageable day by day as I deal with each stone.
It felt good to take a break from lugging my bag of rocks around. It’s usually not this heavy. It feels good to rest and celebrate and remember that life is good. The best thing is that I know my God is a God who breaks up rocks, gives us others to share the load and even, from time to time, makes them fall to the ground.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7