Still Leaning, Still Learning
Brenda Nail DeLauder
Last month for our anniversary, Ric made plans for us to go to the Georgia Aquarium. It was an outing we both looked forward to, so on a bright Friday morning we headed downtown for this fun adventure. As we approached the area, we both groaned when we saw a solid line of school buses circling the block around the Aquarium. We maneuvered through the traffic, found the parking lot and hurried to make our scheduled ticket time, aware of the high buzz of noise from the varying ages of school kids. Once inside, the noise was a constant bubble, yet the atmosphere was fun and happy. The staff of the Aquarium as well as the staff of the schools had the crowds of youth well under control. Immediately we noticed the politeness of the kids and their willingness to share a window view or point out some hidden creature to the rest of us. In reaching the tunnel where we walked under the “sea,” every age joined together in pointing out various wonders.
Admittedly I have had reservations about aquariums and zoos, with concerns of holding wild creatures in captivity. Yet when you are in such a place, it becomes an eye opening experience. In watching the children, which I found myself doing more and more during the visit, and seeing the amazement on their faces, the realization of how much it is a teaching tool kicks in. Hearing kids talking about career choices based on what they were viewing, then watching their reactions to having a huge Manta Ray or Whale Shark glide over their heads, offered as much fun as what the waters held. One of my favorite things to overhear was a young girl, probably around eight years old, saying with so much wonderment in her voice, “Wow. God made that!”
Granted when Ric and I did get back to the car, climbed inside and shut the doors, we enjoyed a moment of the quiet. Honestly though, without all the kids and their input, I don’t think it would have been nearly as much fun. Oh, it’s a fabulous place, but enjoying the interaction of the children added to it greatly.
Days later I thought again of our first reaction of dread when we spotted the buses, and how it turned out to be a good addition to our outing. Suddenly my mind turned to Jesus and the disciples when they were departing to a deserted place for some quiet and rest. Yet before they could slip away, Christ saw many people were following, and being moved with compassion for them, stayed to heal their sick. As the day was slipping into evening, the exhausted disciples asked Jesus to send the people away, but instead Christ told them the people didn’t need to leave, and to feed them. Gathering only two fishes and five barley loaves, it would seem impossible to feed five thousand men, and more women and children. Yet Jesus blessed it and there was food left over.
I have gone to that particular story from Matthew 14:13-21 many times in my life. I’ve leaned on it in faith when feeding bigger crowds than anticipated at church functions. I’ve watched charity drives gain strength as we focused on this scripture. Yet this time I was being shown what was dreaded, instead turned out to be an added blessing. So here I am, over 2000 years later, leaning and learning from Jesus, just as if He was speaking in person today.
Sometimes the things we dread, are the very things to bring us joy. Include Christ in every part of your life and watch the blessings unfold.
Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.