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Puddle Jumping

by:John

The patter of raindrops beating the bedroom window woke me up this morning. It’s a really lovely sound to hear when you’re cozily wrapped up in warm blanket isn’t it? But it sure doesn’t help one to drag themselves out of bed! Well, at least it doesn’t for me.

But at any rate, when I finally did get out of bed around 7:30 to get the girls fed & dressed, I was wondering what to do with them on this wet day. I contemplated my options. I took them to the indoor playground at McDonalds yesterday—a real treat for them, and one they would gladly do again. But naw. The only other option that seemed good was to dress them for the rain and take them out to play in it, and get wet if they wanted to, and that seemed like fun.

So, we got them all dressed up in their rain gear, including wellies (rubber boots), and took off into the steady rain. Aria was absolutely thrilled to be allowed to walk through any and every rain puddle that she saw along the way to town. And, I encouraged her in this endeavour, to both of our delights. Then, as we passed a stretch of grass outside of our local library, I noticed the mother of all puddles, welled up in the middle of the lawn. When I asked Aria if she wanted to go walk in the ‘wee pond’, her eyes got all big, and her lips formed an ‘o’ as she drew a deep breath, relishing the thought. “Go Ahead” I said. And she was off.Aria \'loving\' Puddles. Different day, same heart.

It was so much fun to watch her running through this thing time after time, occasionally shooting a glance my way to make sure that it was still ok. It was almost as much fun to see people’s reactions as they walked by. Some laughed heartily, while others smirked while half shaking their heads. I heard remarks like, “kids!”, or “Isn’t that just like ’em”, or, “They’re all the same!” I laughed when one lady said, “They always head straight for trouble don’t they.” I thought I should probably correct her. “WE always head straight for trouble.” After all, isn’t heading for trouble more of a humanity trait than it is a characteristic of kids? I’m diverting a bit here, but I really was enjoying the interaction with the people on the street. And I wasn’t the only one noticing the passer-byers. After she had played by herself in the puddle for about 10 mins, she ran up to me and shyly said something to me real quiet like. “What?” I asked as I inclined to hear her better. “I want that girl to play in the puddle” she said, as she looked at a girl slightly older than her who had just walked past.

“Awwww”, I exclaimed, “She can’t honey, she’s not dressed for it.” And I truly felt a little bad that she didn’t have someone her age to jump in that puddle with.

Man! How much better are the good things in life when we have people to share them with? It’s like at the playground. When you have one kid, he goes about the playground quietly having his fun, doesn’t he? Maybe the occasional scream or shout? But, then when you add another couple to the mix—the decibel level multiplies exponentially. It’s crazy, they just seem to set each other off and have a blast with the simplest games & activities. For example: I just took a break from writing this article to sit down with my family and eat dinner. Kiera, the 17 month old, pauses from eating to let out a short burst of a scream. Aria laughed at that and then Kiera laughed that Aria laughed. Then she screamed again. This time, Aria laughed and answered the cry with her own siren-like scream. You get the idea. What would have only been a mere novelty alone (a simple scream) was a hilarious game when shared between the two.

It’s just funny, ya know? Back at the grass pond, Aria and I were both seeking to share our experience of the rain puddle with the people around us. I, by chatting to those around me, and she, by wishing that the kids walking by would play with her. Somehow, sharing life with others validates our joys, fears, sorrows, and other emotions. And sharing life more than just validates our feelings, it somehow increases what we feel. That’s definitely part of the reason I like the idea of living in community! I’ve been thinking so much lately about what community is and about what it would look like for a bunch of Christians to move into a place together, sharing their lives with each other and with the community. It’s not an original thought—Christians have been doing it since they were Christians. But, the thought really appeals to me now.

Part of the reason is that it’s just not easy to share your life with others, and they with you in this hectic world. And it’s not because nobody likes the idea, it’s just that we’re so stinkin’ busy that it gets hard to really build deep relationships, ya know? Sharing life is a natural way to build deep relationships because it’s sharing all of the different kind of experiences that come naturally with life, ie: eating, working, playing, worshipping, praying, etc. Have you ever had a friend that you made at work? Someone that you probably wouldn’t have naturally gravitated toward, but because you worked together, you got past the surface level and really grew to appreciate the person? It’s because you shared life with the person, that you got to know them. Shouldn’t community serve to create opportunities to share life and, in the process, establish deep relationships?

Yeah, sharing life of course has its difficulties, and anyone who has ever had to live or work with someone (like all of us) knows that that is true. But are relationships forged and the lessons learned worth the trials? I would answer with an emphatic, “Definitely!” And I’m really hoping that in the future, some opportunity presents itself to establish deeper levels of community. Specifically, I’m hoping to find a bunch of people to move into a big house or apartment to share life, bills, work, laughs, and tears together. Could be fun… Probably’d be difficult, but fun… What do you think?

2 Responses to “Puddle Jumping”

  1. Charissa
    July 10th, 2008 19:39
    1

    I think relationships are definitely worth the struggles that come with sharing life with others. After all, marriage itself is a prime example of rewards that come with sharing your life with another even though it is challenging at times. Speaking of puddle jumping, today I was at the park with little Lucy (my one-year-old springer spaniel), who got tangled up with another dog and somehow unhooked her leash from her harness. Well, as soon as she realized she was “free”, she headed straight for the lake. Meanwhile, I’m holding onto Lucy’s brother, Hunter, who’s going crazy because he’s still on the leash and wants to join his sister swimming after ducks and geese in the lake. Before I know it, there’s a crowd of about 20 people all standing around worried about Lucy getting tired and drowning while she swims after the ducks. I called for her a couple times and before long everyone else is shouting “LUCY, LUCY COME”! After about 10 minutes of this entertainment, Lucy decided she was ready to come to shore and start dodging people for as long as she could get away with it. I wasn’t nearly as worried about her as everyone else since I know her. Rather, I felt so bad that Hunter wanted to swim and run with her that I almost let him go too. Only I knew if I did that, everyone in the gathered crowd would think I was even more crazy. All in all, she eventually came back to me and I ran another mile around the lake to let her dry before I took them both home. But after reading your article and thinking about the fiasco at the park, it was much more fun and interesting with all the people and their comments than if I were alone. Although, if I were alone, I would have let Hunter go free too! Love you!

  2. Brandon
    October 21st, 2014 15:46
    2

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