“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”-Jesus to His disciples (Mark 6:31 NIV)
“I just want to beeee with you.”- Jesse Ophoff, age 4 (1995)
Perfect snow. Deep blue skies, no wind, not too cold, and perfect snow. Now that we had two children, our ski days were few and far between. Scoring a kid-less Saturday with these conditions happened maybe once a winter. Catherine was off with a friend, so we dropped Jesse at Powder Pandas. Half daycare, half ski lessons, his sister had loved this place when she was little. This would be his second visit, and we talked it up as we drove towards Aspen.
He was less than enthusiastic about the opportunity. When we picked him up the first time, his teachers expressed some concern.
“He just didn’t want to be here.”
“What does that mean? Did he misbehave?”
“No, he just wasn’t happy. We tried everything. Maybe next time will be better.”
On the way home we had asked him about it. “What didn’t you like? Didn’t you have fun?”
“I couldn’t reach my cubby, and lunch was a burnt grilled cheese sandwich. I just want to be with you.”
“Well buddy, you have to learn to ski before you can come with us. Let’s try it one more time. Hang in there. It’ll be fun!”
We found him a cubby within reach, kissed him goodbye, and skied down to catch the lift. Soaring over the bunny slope, we reminisced on the fun Catherine had learning to ski there and just knew today would be Jesse’s day. Worries about my youngest faded away as the chairlift carried us up through forests of pine and fir. Everything I loved about skiing came together on this rare day out with my husband.
Before cell phones invaded the slopes, the ski patrol would scrawl urgent messages on dry-erase boards at the top of each lift. After an exhilarating first run, we caught the chair back up to the top. As we prepared to unload, the message board grabbed our attention:
We flew off the lift and raced to the patrol hut. Adrenaline surged through my chest as I imagined a broken little leg or worse. The patrolman relayed Powder Pandas’ less-than-grim message: Jesse just really didn’t want to be there.
We skied to the bottom to collect our sobbing son. His leg may not have been broken, but his heart was.
“Honey, what’s the matter?”
“I just want to beee with you! I just want to beee with you!”
So ended Jesse’s ski school career. It wasn’t like we never left him- he went to preschool three days a week- but the thought of us having fun without him was more than he could take. The minor inconvenience he created one Saturday years ago became one of our favorite memories because before we could blink, the years passed. He learned to ski, and to drive, and went off to college before we could blink again. Now the tables have been turned, and we are grateful for the precious time we get to beee with him. Every now and then he comes home just to see us, because he knows how much we love him.
Every now and then, I hear the quiet voice of Jesus calling me to come spend time with Him. Unlike the daily habit of prayer and study, this is a call to leave my life behind for a few days. We’ve met in the desert and the forest, in the camper and with the dog. We’ve met in the quiet of off-season resorts, by the shore with no tourists and the slopes with no snow. Today I leave my precious Kevin behind to spend a few days alone with the lover of my soul and the Lord of my life. My prayer as I drive sounds much like the cry of my son, a preschooler’s sob for the parents he loved:
“I just want to beee with you. Don’t leave me behind!”
He never has, and He won’t today.
“Prayer is not artful monologue of voice uplifted from the sod;
It is Love’s tender dialog between the soul and God.”-John Richard Moreland
“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11 NIV)
©Rachel Ophoff 2010, Coconut Mountain Communications LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Visit my website at http://www.friendshipwithjesus.com