Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
- Luke 2:41-52
“Very likely, what with enemies, and mountains, and rivers to cross, and losing our way, and next to nothing to eat, and sore feet, we’ll hardly notice the weather.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
First, the Scripture describes a trip involving a twelve-year-old. We just took a two-week trip to visit, among others, a twelve-year-old. Otherwise, the similarities break down very quickly. He’s a good kid, but he is no Jesus. Although his middle name is Emmanuel.
Okay, I usually do trip reports after visiting relatives. I already wrote about how we talk big when it comes to going green and then we buy huge gas-guzzling cars, but this about the trip itself.
The biggest obstacle for this trip was transferring my wife’s kidney dialysis to a clinic in the same group of clinics in western Tennessee. I gave them six-week notice. With two weeks before our scheduled departure, my wife announced to the doctor and the clerk setting things up that she WAS going to Tennessee. If they did not get things in order, she might return in a pine box, but she was going to spend two weeks with her grandchildren. But with five days left, the clerk said that she was accepted at a clinic, but her schedule was not set due to the holidays – no one’s schedule was set up at that clinic due to the holidays. We got the schedule two days before we left, including dialysis on the Sunday after Christmas. My wife’s blood pressure was out the roof as was mine.
For the two weeks in Tennessee, she cut her dosage of blood pressure medicine in half. Being with the grandchildren was so therapeutic that she actually had low blood pressure on occasion, too low to take her medicine, but mine was even higher, becoming the chauffeur for a family of seven, where getting the three children to cooperate was like herding cats. I think I have mentioned that in past posts.
I made one trip to the oldest home that I lived in that still remains a residence, in the photographed painting as the featured image above (upper right corner and not visible in all formats), where my sister lives. That was good. The old folks talked. My son played with the children, his and his cousins. A few days later, we had a second Christmas at our daughter-in-law’s parents’ home. We listened to a bagpipe concert in the court square, our twelve-year-old grandson’s first public concert. And we did a lot of shopping. Santa had gotten gift cards for a craft store for the two youngest kids.
And just before we left, their older brother got his own set of bagpipes, his big Christmas gift, assembled by his teacher. They do not come with instructions, because they want someone who has done it before doing it. It is rather complicated, even when watching the videos of the experts doing it, and some parts are rather delicate – expensive and easily broken if you do not do it right. Even then, the chanters were not tuned.
He played the pipes anyway. His Dad, our son, was worried about the noise, but I suggested that on clear days our grandson should go across the street to practice. They live across the street from a cemetery. He would have a captive audience. There would be little chance of having rotten tomatoes thrown at him. And if he is playing Taps or Amazing Grace on the far side of the cemetery from a funeral, he might get the interest of a few funeral home directors – in other words, paid gigs.
My wife had one day at dialysis where she was not allowed to leave for about a half hour due to dehydration and low blood pressure, otherwise fine. My only kerfuffle was on my diet. We were constantly on the go, and we got barbeque one day. I loved it, but a few hours later, I was in gastric distress, nothing bad. But that was nothing compared to the fried catfish on the way home. It had always been our routine to have barbeque and catfish when we visited the folks in Mississippi, but I have not had an acid attack (GERD since 1979) like that one in maybe 30-35 years. I sat up in bed for a few hours before the acid level came down before I could try to sleep, only getting a little over one hour of sleep. When my wife awoke at 3:00am in the hotel, she asked if I could drive on that little of sleep, and I replied that I did not think I had a choice. We made it from central Kentucky to near Columbus, Ohio by the time the sun came up. We made it home before lunch safely, “safe” in that I did not hit anything or anyone, but it was not the safe thing to do.
Note to self, you have counseled others in sticking to their diet to avoid problems with gastric diseases. You should heed your own advice. Take a note from Jesus. “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51a). Or at least I am sure that Joseph and Mary would say, “Stick to your diet!” And frankly, I think some people are barking up the wrong tree when they demand of God to be healed of such disorders because they know that they have no discipline in sticking to a diet. God throws us these curve balls to teach us to trust Him. We may not have the discipline, but God is Holy. He can give us the discipline if we trust Him.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.