I had a houseful over the weekend. In my 1,492 square foot house, there were three adult women, an almost-twelve-month-old baby boy, and my 55-pound dog. The house buzzed with activity the entire weekend. Most of the activity centered around we grown women, trying to keep The Little Guy out of trouble in my non-babyproof house. All visible cords were ripe to be chewed. The flashing green lights on my internet router made it irresistible to curious fingers. And I think that all of my dog’s toys ended up being taken out of the baby’s mouth at one time or another. I mean, he is teething, after all. (My cell phone still has gnaw-prints on it…) Nevertheless, I have to say that The Little Guy was probably the most well-behaved and well-adjusted Little Guy I’ve ever had the privilege of hanging out with.
You’ve gotta feel a little sorry for the poor baby—trapped in a house with three women. He spent so much of the weekend being picked up, carried, and held that it’s a wonder he can still walk! So, Saturday evening, when the sun turned orange and began to dip behind the trees, we took The Little Guy out into the backyard for a little fresh air and exercise. We thoroughly scouted a small square of the grass to make sure that it was fire-ant-free. Then, my friend, Karen sat on the ground and began blowing bubbles from a blue tube of bubble solution.
The Little Guy loved it! He danced around the grass on his wobbly, chubby little legs, reaching for the shiny, bluish bubbles. As soon as he would touch the elusive, shimmering bubble, it would pop. His little mouth would make an “O” and then he would immediately turn and chase another one.
The Little Guy wasn’t the only one who was mesmerized by the bubbles. I couldn’t take my eyes off of his little game. When the bubbles would drift by me, I would reach out a finger to gently catch one, but I found that I had no more luck with it than he. Finally, just before dark, when he had finally worn out and the mosquitoes began to find us, Karen blew one more cloud of bubbles. As the last perfect bubble hovered and then popped in front of my face, I heard The Voice:
How often do you chase bubbles? Those shiny, pretty, fragile things that you can never quite seem to catch? They captivate you, entertain you, and distract you. But even if you finally catch them, they only turn out to be empty.
I swung the baby up onto my hip and came into the house, but the image of the bubbles stayed with me. When my happy houseful tucked in for the night, I sought out The One Who Is the Answer and said, “Lord, what bubbles have I chased?”
They say that when you’re getting ready to die, your life flashes before your eyes. I think I know what that’s like. Faces and situations flashed through my mind. Auditions I’ve gone on. Guys I’ve dated. Jobs that I’ve worked. All of the things I’ve done (or not done) for thirty-one years, because I thought that they would find me happiness or peace or love or acceptance or approval.
Thinking back on a lot of the conversations that I’ve had with friends and family members lately, I get the impression that I’m not the only bubble-chaser. I’ve heard a lot people talking about how great their lives would be “if only.”
If only I could get that book contract. If only he would notice me. If only she loved me. If only we could get pregnant. If only my divorce were final. If only I were retired. If only…
Thank God that He created me to be a dreamer! But thank God that He is also taking the time to teach me that it isn’t the gift that’s special—it’s the Giver. He wants me to dream! But he wants me to want Him more than I want the dream. He wants to BE my dream! He is bringing me to the place where I can look at “the bubbles” and say, “God, I want the bubbles, but if You choose for me not to have them, it’s okay because YOU are what I need.”