Childhood–A Time to Get Real

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Last Thursday Ray and I left home for a long weekend. I have lots to share about lessons I learned on this trip, but first I want to share some thoughts that began to dawn on me the first morning we were gone.

On New Year’s Day, I wrote about one way Ray and I try to stay healthy on the road. For many people, BYOB means “bring your own bottle;” but for us, it’s “bring your own breakfast.” Since we are out of town so much for conventions and to visit our children and grandchildren, we feel we must pass up the hotel fare of Danishes, waffles, and Fruit Loops® most of the time.

We pack raisins, real butter, and packets of organic oatmeal. For a special treat, we try to bring a loaf of bakery bread from our freezer, or better yet, to find a local bakery on the road. Then we toast it in the hotel toaster. Yum.

We take wooden bowls and heavy glass mugs so we don’t have to use styrofoam. Don’t think we are paranoid. We eat and drink out of styrofoam sometimes, but I’ve been out of town 65 nights already this year–that’s a lot of styrofoam!

I took this just-for-fun still life photo of our breakfast foods from this last trip especially for you. The gold thing is the hotel lamp. You know how dark hotel rooms are. I had to have the lamp for a little light!

Hotel Breakfast, A Still Life

As we got ready for the day on Friday, Ray mentioned that we had some fresh cherries with us that we might want to include with our breakfast. Sweet fresh cherries are one of my favorite foods. I get very excited when they come in each year.

I don’t remember the first time I ate a sweet fresh cherry. As a child, I knew that cherries grew on trees. I might have heard of someone picking tart cherries and making cherry pies out of them, but I didn’t know of anyone who ate cherries fresh.

To me “cherry” meant:

  • A granulated pinkish powder in Kool-Aid, Jello, or Pixy-Stix®.
  • A drink flavor used in something like an ICEE®.
  • A flavoring restaurants added to a glass of Coca-Cola to make it a cherry Coke.
  • A bright, red maraschino cherry filled with sugar and food coloring and put on top of an ice cream sundae or in canned fruit cocktail.
  • A cooked, syrupy fruit in pies or cobblers.

I liked all of those back then, but none of those tastes come close to the enjoyment I experience now when I bite into a real, fresh cherry.

When God made our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies, He placed us in a real world, filled with real stuff. As much as I like beautiful drawings of cardinals, I’d still rather see a real one in a tree out my window. As sweet as it would be if Ray gave me a card signed with a bunch of little o’s and x’s to symbolize hugs and kisses, I’d rather have the real thing.

Our children have opportunities to use many kinds of devices, offering a variety of virtual opportunities. Sometimes it is easy to forget that childhood is a wonderful time to have real experiences–walking in real grass, reading from a real book, visiting with real people, helping real people, loving real people. I am thankful that God is real and that He made us real, too.

When God got ready to save us, He sent His Son into the real world. Jesus was a real, flesh and blood, human being. Some people living in the first century had a hard time believing that this was true. This is one of the reasons that the apostle John wrote what He did in 1 John, which begins like this:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have looked at and touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested,
and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and was manifested to us—
what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father,
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:1-3, NASB

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