Monday, October 18, 2010

Sweet Treats

I cried this morning, over a commercial I saw on TV. I caught the tail end of one I’ve seen many times before in which a mom has taken her son to his fist day of middle school and is quizzing him about whether he remembers the location of his first classroom, if he brought his lunch…until the boy in desperation says, “I’ve got this Mom! I can walk from here.” The mother takes a step back, physically and emotionally, and the boy heads into the school building, reaches to open his locker, only to find that the combination has totally slipped his mind. Frustrated and upset, he sticks his hands into his jacket pockets…and there finds a packaged Rice Krispie Treat that his mom had stuck in there with his locker combination written across the front. And suddenly I felt the tears well up.

I know. What does it say about a person’s emotional state when a commercial for a prepackaged snack makes them cry? I even braved the wonders of technology and used the rewind feature on our Direct TV remote for the first time ever (see that, boys?!) to watch the thing again. Sure enough, after the second viewing, the tears fell in earnest.

I recognized the trigger, of course. It was the look on the mom’s face at the son’s rebuke. Like all moms eventually must do, she took a step back and simply waved goodbye.

I can identify with her difficulty in letting go and allowing her children to make their own way in school as well as in life. Fast forward ten years in that boy’s life and that’s where I’m at today – having dropped two of my kids off at distant colleges to deal with the details of their lives on their own. I’m adjusting well for the most part (although my actions this morning may cause some to question that declaration), so could there have been something more to the commercial than just a lure to parents to buy the treats for lunches and snacks, now that school is back in session?

There’s always more to the life situations around us than what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. In this case the answer was found in the closing thought of the commercial: They’re never too big for a little something sweet.

We forget that occasionally. We think now that we’re grown up…older…more mature…that we’re too big for some of the things that brought us joy in our younger years. Too often we use age-related excuses to sit on the sidelines of life. We don’t avoid just physical activities, but emotional, financial and spiritual ones, as well. And perhaps we really have stopped living and started dying when we convince ourselves that it’s too late in life to do something new. Too late to go back to school…to start a new business…to try God.

In God’s view it’s never too late for any of the above, especially the latter. The Bible tells us that God’s grace and forgiveness are available to anyone who comes to Him with a repentant heart, at any stage in their life journey.

But what if you had a relationship with God at one point and lost it for one reason or another? Maybe life circumstances conspired to convince you that God wasn’t Who He claimed to be. Or perhaps you just lost your focus, distracted by the pressures and busyness of life, only to eventually find yourself off track and seemingly alone once more. Maybe you just got tired of the fight to do what’s right and gave in to sensual pleasures of one type or another, and now believe that you’ve gone too far to ever be accepted back into the fold. Whatever your situation, God wants you to know that the welcome mat still lies outside Heaven’s gates, the porch light is still on, and there’s a Father’s embrace just waiting for you when you’re finally ready to come Home.

I fell for the television ad completely this morning, even with my kids grown and largely gone. As I wiped my face and blew my nose I vowed to make Rice Krispie treats from scratch for the family members still at home, and thought about buying boxes of the packaged kind to send to the loved ones away, with my own “I love you” messages scripted on the front – not locker combinations of course, but information pertinent to their current situations, such as Rent is due on the 1st, Colors in cold, whites in warm or hot, or Cook the lasagna, covered, one hour at 350 degrees!

Hopefully I got the less verbalized message from Heaven, as well. God said He loved us when He sent His Son to die for us, and now that message is echoed in His longing to fill our time on this earth with timely assistance and blessings far greater than a few prepackaged treats stuck in our pockets or mailboxes. No matter what our age or station in life, we are simply never too big to begin again with Him.


“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be –

you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.”

(Psalm 32:11 MSG)

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