I remember it well although it's been over a year ago. Eli had recently been diagnosed with Asperger's, ADHD, and a Sensory Processing Disorder. The medication he's on requires blood work to keep check on his liver. His initial test came back elevated. And so, we were on our way to LeBonheur's in Memphis for further tests.
We were driving. I was in my own world, as it was our sweet #4's due date. Eli kept going on and on about this and that, of which I truthfully (and regretfully) didn't care one iota. Ever just want to sit and ride in peace? I was there that day.
My husband nudged me and told me to look back at Eli. He was randomly blinking extremely hard, squinting those beautiful hazel eyes of his. We continued watching. He continued blinking.
I guess the confused looks on our faces prompted him to explain himself. "I'm taking pictures with my brain and sending them to Heaven."
Now he had me intrigued.
He continued doing this for several more minutes which led me to converse with him about Jesus getting his 'pictures' and how cool it might be if once we get in Heaven, if Jesus might have them and say "Remember when you were 6 and on your way to Memphis and you sent all these to Me?"
Anna decided to join in. They continued doing this for a good portion of the trip, even taking "video" to send to Him. Eli thought it might be great if Jesus showed his pictures to #3 and #4.
And there I was. Convicted.
Convicted that he sees picture worthy things all around him and I sat in my seat, being a grump, sullen from what never was while he's taking pictures with his brain for his sweet brothers/sisters to see in Heaven.
They got to see pictures of an army truck. A tractor. A semi truck. Road signs. Part of an airplane as it flew past. A video of fields of crops and scenery.
Now, do I know if Jesus "received" his pictures and showed them to our babies? No. But with every fiber of my being, I believe He did. The God of the universe Who holds our every tear was watching that day and I can't help but believe that He scooped up our babies, held them in His lap, and said, "Hey, take a look at these pictures from your brother."
What I do know is that I was changed that day. I'm reminded this November amidst the air of Thanksgiving around us, that we have so much for which to be thankful. I think we forget because we're so busy looking for the big and grand that we miss the obvious. We miss that Army trucks and tractors are cool. We miss that those in the military are heroes and revered by our children. We forget that the fields and fields of crops are what feed and cloth us. We forget how fun it was to watch crop dusters fly all around when we were kids. We forget the magic of going to new places and funny shaped trees and being knocked down and kissed by a slobbery dog.
And in our forgetfulness, we oftentimes lose the wonder of it all.
I'm finding more and more that joy is a thousand small things, not a few big ones. We've taken our kids to Disney World, to San Diego, to Dallas, to Branson, to St. Louis... to a bunch of different places. They mention those places occasionally. But do you know one of the most consistent things Anna says to me is? "Hey mom, remember when you used to play tickle monster with us outside in the fort?"
It's truly that simple, friends.
We consume ourselves with our losses. We bury ourselves in grief and oftentimes, self pity. I know that's often been the case for me. We have misguided ambitions and goals, striving for more money and bigger houses and designer clothing when all that really matters is what's right in front of us.
Being a tickle monster.
I hope when I get to Heaven that God has a picture of one of those moments in my room waiting for me. Because, the reality is that He gives us "pictures" each and every day.
Whether it's getting a giggle out of Emi's crazy bed head hair, or cheering on Anna in volleyball, a magnificent sunset, or a nail-biter soccer game with Eli as goalie, or sweet conversations over dinner. Be it sitting hand in hand, watching a movie together or standing side by side cooking. They're everywhere.
Because they're all just really pictures from Heaven, splashed out before us to see and recognize as gifts from Him.
The Father has bestowed gift upon gift to us, while we oftentimes miss or ignore them.
May we stop missing pictures from Heaven.
May we see the glory in the ordinary and obvious.
And maybe, just maybe, one day when we get to Heaven, He'll have pictures waiting for us.
I'm desperately hoping to see our sweet #3 and #4, walk into their Heavenly rooms, and see all the pictures from their brother.
Until then, I'm choosing to see the pictures all around me.
May you see them too.