“If you could go back in time, what time period would you choose?”
We’ve had lots of cousin time around there this week. Two are at camp, so that leaves only thirteen for rousing games of Hide & Go Seek and Sardines. Yes – even the cool tween/teens join in. It probably has something to do with family unconditional love, but also younger members providing an excuse for what we all long to do – live without a care in the world. Beyond hiding and finding, there has also been lots of trivia, and “would you rather.” You know… the ageless game of grossness. “Would you rather eat worms drenched in cow spit? Or sit in a hot tub filled with electric eels and scorpions?” We played it when we were kids and I’m pretty sure it turned my mother’s stomach as much as it irks mine. Like she must have, I try to ignore it.
Still, I like listening in on their games … some are good. Like this time travel one:
“If I could go back in time,” ponders one kid, “I would for sure go to the time of hobbits,”
“That’s not a time,” retorts a snarky brother.
“ooohh…” chimes in a girl cousin, “I would want to live when the pioneers did. I could have my own horse and ride whenever I wanted.”
“There wasn’t any air-conditioning. You would be really hot,” adds a resident Eyore.
“So,” she nyahhs. “I wouldn’t be staying. … I’m only going to go for a little while then come back.”
“Well,” adds a kid from the back, “you’d better be careful what you do. If you change anything, it will affect everything going forward. You might not even have the same parents.”
“That’s not true!!!” The pioneer girl starts to get nervous.
“Oh yes it is. If you’re not careful – you could change the future – which is really our history.”
Another from the middle seat also getting nervous nips it all, “I don’t like this game!”
“Yeah…” chime in the rest of the crew. “Why did you have to ruin it?!” they collectively hurl (along with some trash found on the floor) at the realist.
“Hey, hey…” adds another back-seat kid, “I’ve got one… Would you rather eat a cow’s eyeball covered in chocolate so you thought it was a piece of candy… or would you rather sing in front of your whole school only wearing boxer shorts?”
This was of course met with “ewwwws” and “ohhhhhs”.
They moved on, but I sat on the time travel topic. I wonder how many times we think about this without even knowing. Sure we can camp on the obvious desire to go back and change something – because if we did, everything could be different, or something could be avoided. But how often do we, especially as parents, wish we could change or avoid or skip the present.
There are lots of things I would have skipped in Jr. High if given the opportunity. Plenty in college. A few in early twenties. But none of those can compare to some of the things I would like to skip, change or avoid for my kids. It’s hard enough going through it yourself, but when you watch your kid… oh, my stomach hurts just thinking about some of the hardships and challenges that face (have faced) my kids.
But the truth is, I am who I am in large part due to my past. Those challenges and hardships, the learning to persevere and not giving up, the consequences for bad decisions, the rewards for good – have collectively made me who I am today. If we really could change the present, it would ripple affect the future (like Mr. “you might not have the same parents” pointed out) – and I’m not so sure I want to have that much control. I don’t know what lies ahead. My switch flipping and avoiding could have a major affect, probably not a good one, on their/my life going forward.
At this point, I can’t help but be thankful to believe in the One who sees all, knows all and is powerful over all. I’m grateful that all He asks is for me to have a heart that earnestly seeks after Him.
I guess the big question facing me is … do I trust Him.
Am I training my kids to trust Him and to know that He never gives more than we can bear, that He always walks with us, that we never need to fear and that we don’t even have to live on our own strength. Do I trust that He knows what is going to happen and leads me accordingly? Do I trust that He has my back and my best interest in mind? Do I trust His love for me?
And, what does that look like in practical day-to-day living? Maybe that’s why we have some bumps along the way… so we can learn to trust. But it’s kind of hard to trust someone you don’t know. I mean intimately know. Because that kind of trust can only come from a tight relationship.
So… Would you rather be in control and able to change the present/past even though it will most certainly change the future that you can’t see? Or, would you rather trust in the One who sees and knows all – even though it might (okay, will) be a bit challenging along the way?
Who knew car-games could be so convicting?!
Thanks for walking the road with me.
Ten-year-old doing her laundry!
Keep sending me pics/stories (firstname.lastname@example.org). They inspire us all… and make us smile :)