Fridays are my day off. At least, as long as there is not a wedding or a funeral or an emergency of some kind in the life of the congregation. Until 9 months ago Friday was the day that I would do housework, or yard work, or paint, or go to the beach. Then Laurel Ana was born. Our son and his wife were married right out of college in 2002. They waited awhile but Laurel Ana, born July 7, 2011, was worth waiting for. They live two hours away in San Diego. So every other Friday I get up at 4:30 a.m., leave by 5 a.m. and drive two hours to arrive in time for Jeff and Jackie to leave for work by 7:30 a.m. I spend the day with Laurel—about nine hours. When my son gets home from work at about 4 p.m. I get in the car and drive two or three hours (rush hour traffic) back to LA. Why do I do this? Most grandmothers understand. I waited nine years for this child. I wrote a book for her titled, I Waited For You So Long. Spending four or five hours driving is a small price to pay to spend Fridays with Laurel. What makes me do this?
I want to know her and I want her to know me. I want to have a relationship with her. There is no guarantee that she will always lives close enough for me to spend Fridays with her. As long as I am able I will invest the time. She has just begun to reach for me when she wants me to pick her up. Oh, how I love it when she reaches for me. I can’t imagine what it is going to feel like the first time she says my name. You will probably hear the squeal of delight all the way from San Diego when it happens.
I want to teach her and I want her to teach me. I learned so much from raising my own three children. I know that they learned a lot from me. I am older and wiser now (sorry kids!) and have so much to tell her and show her but I also want to keep on learning. Laurel is teaching me. Watching Laurel learn reminds me of the sheer wonder of ordinary life—the simple joys. Sights and sounds, and shapes and flavors are all fresh discoveries for Laurel. I can teach her what they are called, but she is reminding me of the simple yet amazing wonders of every day life.
It is a joy hard to describe to watch your child parent a child. He does it so well. To see the devotion and love and to watch him teach her and love her is sheer joy. I get there early enough and stay just long enough on Fridays to see a little of this. It, too, is well worth the drive.
Spending Fridays with Laurel has made me reflect on my relationship with God. Having a relationship with God also requires a commitment of time. Just like I set aside Fridays for Laurel, I need to set aside a time to be with God—reading scripture, praying, and reflecting on my life. I want to know God. The bible and prayer helps me learn more about God and I also discover how well God knows me! If it is a real relationship knowing goes both ways.
Spending time with God in bible study or prayer always teaches me. I have been doing this for almost 50 years—spending time with God—and yet I continue to learn. Sometimes I learn new things, but often I am relearning old lessons or making adjustments to what I thought I already knew! And one of the greatest joys in knowing God is watching him work in the lives of others that you have had the privilege of teaching about him.
I love Laurel so much! But I know the heavenly father loves us, his children, much more than that and more than we can ever imagine. Knowing this, I can’t help but wonder if it brings deep joy to the Father when we reach for him and when we call out his name. Fridays with Laurel is sheer pleasure and will help to build a treasured relationship with her as long as I live. Any time with God is a pleasure and will build a relationship with God that will last forever.
There is no right way or perfect time. Each of us must find a way to spend time with God. Mornings and journaling are key for me in spending time with God. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Find the time and way that works for you. Even sporadic is better than not at all. Take time regularly or whenever you can. Invest. The Heavenly Father is always waiting for you to reach for him! What is the key to your spending time with God?