Inspire 70: The Wizard Of IS

The Wizard Of IS

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Inspirational # 70

When my wife and I first married, we took a big camping trip every summer. We started out camping in a little tent, which worked fine, until one trip it rained five straight days and we went stir crazy. We saved our money and bought a bigger tent. It had two rooms, and we enjoyed the extra space. Then we loaned it to my sister. She packed it away wet, the seams rotted, and the tent fell apart. My sister does things like this, and there isn't much that can be done about it --other than to remind her of it whenever we need someone to watch the kids.
Camping is a holdover from my growing up days. There were five kids in my family; and camping was the only vacation Mom and Dad could afford. Had we been able to afford other kinds of vacations, we kids still would have chosen camping, it being high adventure.
Someone once told me that we don't remember days, we remember moments. What I recollect are moments gone but treasured. I'm six years old, camping with my family; and I catch my first fish on a Zebco rod and reel. Dad takes a picture, which is unearthed twenty-five years later. On a Thanksgiving afternoon when my brother David hauls the picture-box down from the attic. My three-year-old climbs on my lap to look. I rub his head and wonder what he'll remember thirty Thanksgivings from now.
We take our son Spencer camping. It is the summer of his second year. Next to the bathhouse, there's a yellow slide that he's forever climbing up and gliding down. I wonder if he'll remember how I caught him at the bottom and whirled him in the air. How once I missed and he tumbled in the dust. How that night he fell asleep on Mommy's lap by the campfire and woke up in the morning sticky with marshmallow.
Sometimes I make the mistake of needing everything to be a memory, of straining to make every moment a snapshot. Going through life with a camera to the eye, wanting the world to fall in step with my expectations. I forget that along with the marshmallows come the mosquitoes, and that no amount of wishing otherwise changes that. Life isn't only about the "should be," the moments gone but treasured; it's also about the "is," the tumbles and the bugs.
I live in this struggle between myth and reality, between "should be" and "is." Went camping once with a friend and tried to pitch my tent on granite ground. Spent a half hour pounding in plastic stakes. My friend said, "Phil, sometimes you just have to pitch your tent somewhere else." This we call flexibility; if we're blessed, we learn it early. If we don't, life is immeasurably more difficult than it needs to be.
This is the blessing of children. For all the difficulties they bring us, they bring their gifts, too. I've learned more patience in two years with my son than in thirty years on my own.
Spencer, my son, cures me of my fevered pounding; this sturdy boy-man so unversed in "oughts" and "shoulds." In truth, he is the resident Wizard of Is, giving me a heart for life on reality's road. Life on this road is life in the slow lane, a pace beyond my fevered pounding.
From my little wizard I learn to live the "is" and leave the "should be" to God.
Written by: By Philip Gulley