I stood at the sink, looked long and hard at the pile of dirty dishes beside me, and sighed. Then I took a deep breath, pushed up my sleeves, and determined not to think about the dishwasher that waltzed out of my life months ago without so much as a kiss good-bye. I plugged the hole, turned on the water as hot as I could stand, and reached for the dish soap. I squirted liberally, then swished my hand back and forth as fast as I could, taking some small comfort in the huge mounds of bubbles I’d created.
And then a flashback. Twenty-five years ago. I remembered it like it was yesterday, and I couldn’t help but grin.
Fantasy Farm. A run-down, poor excuse for a family amusement park that went out of business years ago. But on that sweet summer day in 1983, it was still standing. And to an eight-year-old, a trip to Fantasy Farm was a dream come true.
My brother Josh was five and every bit as excited as I was. So excited in fact that he wanted to set out his clothes the night before, so nothing would hold him back on the big day. But alas, his favorite little shorts were in the dirty clothes hamper. And Mom wasn’t about to do another load of laundry that night. He could find something else to wear, she said. And that was that. Not so, thought Josh, taking matters into his own hands…
Fantasy Farm Day dawned bright and sunny. We set off, Josh and I squirming and giggling the whole way there. Two-year-old Bethany slept in her car seat, oblivious to the adventure that lay ahead.
And oh, what an adventure it was! The rides were phenomenal–the Scrambler, the Tilt-O-Whirl, the Monster Mouse! As the day wore on, and Mom and Dad wore out, Josh and I were allowed to ride by ourselves while they rested with little sis on benches nearby. It was glorious.
But, much to our dismay, long before we were tuckered out, it began to rain. No lightning in sight though, so the rides stayed open. We slipped and slid all over the wet seats, squealing at the added element of fun. It wasn’t long before the light rain became a downpour, so we trudged back to Mom and Dad.
We had taken just a couple steps when I happened to glance down at Josh. I gasped in horror. “Josh!” I screamed. “You have rabies!”
Now, granted, I didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about rabies, except that foam was involved in some capacity. I later learned that rabid creatures tend to foam at the mouth, not the legs, as young Josh was doing.
Poor Josh had no idea what was going on. I pointed to his legs. He looked down. His jaw dropped. This wasn’t some big sister prank. His legs were foaming! Rabidly! We took off running toward Mom and Dad, both of us terrified at the thought of poor Josh dying of a terrible disease.
We screeched to a halt in front of Mom and Dad, struggling to get the words out. “Rabies … Josh … dying … oh, noooo!” And what did our parents do? They laughed. Laughed! We were drenched with rain, their own son was at death’s door, and they were rolling. I might have expected tears, but tears of anguish, not mirth!
It didn’t take long to get to the bottom of things. As it turns out, Josh had decided the night before that if Mom wouldn’t wash his shorts, he’d do it himself. In the bathroom sink. With a bottle of dish soap. He was five–what did he know? Certainly not to rinse out the soap before he set the shorts on his dresser to dry. His little scheme would have gone unnoticed but for the torrential downpour that activated his shorts.
There’s a lesson to be learned from Josh’s foamy fiasco–at least for me. How many times do I try to do things on my own without God’s blessing? I ask Him for something. He tells me to “wait until morning” or “find something else to wear.” I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to change my plans. So I set off on my own without Him. With disastrous results. God asks me to follow Him, not take the lead. Little Josh didn’t know any better. I do.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7a) Oh, God, give me patience to wait on You!!