Funny what thoughts wander through your mind during the wee, dark hours of the morning...
When I was a young girl, I think I spent about every other weekend at my Stricklin grandparents' house. And whenever I was at Mer and Pap's, I thought I simply must go fishing.
I loved fishing with Pap at the pond below the house. We didn't always catch anything, but the occasional fat bream was enough to keep me coming back. Once in a blue moon, I'd catch a big, shiny, silver bass - boy, would that get my heart pumping!
If we were fishing on a hot summer afternoon, Mer would walk down with a couple of glasses of ice cold lemonade. She had these brightly colored aluminum tumblers that would get so frosty cold from the lemonade inside that it almost hurt to hold one in your hand.
On a typical Saturday afternoon at Mer and Pap's, Pap would settle into his recliner in the living room for a short nap after lunch. But I wasn't sleepy. "Pap, let's go fishing!" I would pester my sleepy granddad.
Pap would pull his ginormous Bible dictionary off the bookshelf beside his recliner. "Here, you flip through every page of this book. When you are finished, we will go fishing."
So Pap would take a nap, and I would sprawl on the living room floor and flip through the Bible dictionary. Sometimes, if Pap was lucky, a picture or article would catch my attention. I would forget about fishing for a short while, and Pap would get a few extra minutes added to his nap.
When I reached the back cover of the book, though, Smack!, I'd slap that cover shut, and jump up. "Done! Let's go fishing!"
I don't have a lot of memories from my short time with Mer and Pap - Mer's amazing coconut cake, the naugahyde sofa that you had to peel your sweaty legs off of in summer, Pap's Old Spice cologne, pancakes the size of a dinner plate for breakfast, Mer's teeth soaking in bubbly blue Efferdent - but every faint memory that I can recall is absolutely saturated with the overwhelming feeling that I was safe, I was loved, I was special.
When I am awake in the middle of the night and just can't go back to sleep, I pray. And sometimes I ramble into sweet memories like the one last night, of fishing with Pap.
I was praying last night, and then I thought of Mer and Pap, and of how they made me feel as a child. And it occurred to me that I had been given a very great and precious gift - a different gift, given to me by my parents.
As I lay awake, I remembered doing the very same thing as a child - lying awake in the middle of the night, snug under my blankets, praying. Maybe a noise from somewhere else in the house had awakened me. Maybe a bad dream. Maybe a dog barking. I would lie awake in the dark and pray - that I would not be afraid of the dark, that I would go back to sleep, that my rabbit would be safe outside in his pen, that I wouldn't worry about tomorrow's math test.
And last night, as Middle-aged Camille remembered Small Child Camille lying awake and praying, it occurred to me - I don't remember there ever being a time when I did not feel free to talk to God. I don't remember a time when I ever felt afraid to approach Him. I just remember that, as a child, talking to God in the middle of the night seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. Praying made me feel safe, made me feel loved, made me feel special. Small Child Camille truly believed that she had the ear of the almighty Creator of the universe, that He was listening and eager to meet with her in prayer, any time, anywhere.
As I lay awake in the wee dark hours this morning, I was overwhelmed with a tremendous sense of gratitude - so very thankful to God that He gave me parents who taught me, even as a very small child, that God loves his children and delights to meet with them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me riches beyond measure.
4 days ago