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Today's Treasure Jon Hamilton
We finally got rid of the baby bed. It was a long time
It’s easy to deny the truth. "He’s still a baby," you tell yourself. "He might fall out of a regular bed!" But when the child scrambles up the high sides and does a "Hey Dad! Watch this!" summersault on the way down to the mattress... you realize you’re just kidding yourself.
He’s not a baby anymore.
The bed was not much to look at. A hose clamp on one of the rails told the tale of a Saturday afternoon I had spent rescuing the bed after 2 big brothers had decided the baby bed was a great spot for a wrestling match. The mattress had duct tape on the bottom, desperately trying to hold on to the cover’s last life.
Most noticeably, the bed simply showed the wear and tear of five Hamilton children. (That’s like fifteen to those of you with normal kids.) It had become an eyesore, was probably dangerous, and Tammye was anxious to see it hauled off.
I was not so anxious. It occurred to me that I had spent a good bit of time on this bed! I had lovingly repaired it several times. It had been sanded, glued, screwed, and hammered. When one caster had mysteriously disappeared, I was forced to remove the other three. By the time I actually found the missing caster, (I found it in a toy box), the other three had been absconded with in a six year old’s effort to create a skate board.
This bed I had set up and taken down at three different homes, none of which had a bedroom door wide enough to accommodate the assembled version. (I usually found it out after donating a significant amount of knuckle skin to the doorway.)
But as most men well know, when your wife has decided a particular household item has fallen into disfavor, it is doomed. No matter how fond you may be of your favorite piece of furniture, it will soon be residing at the landfill.
I have learned that women come equipped with highly sensitive "junk" indicators installed somewhere on their persons. (I have looked, but have not discovered the actual location.) This junk indicator will send a 100 decibel shriek into the inner ear of your wife whenever she comes within 30 yards of anything worthy of Sanford and Son. If the offensive item happens to be at your home, she will be unable to rest until it is removed. Every conversation will eventually turn to the same subject.
"Good news honey!" you announce coming in the door. "I’ve been named area manager and we get an all expense paid vacation to Hawaii! Also I bought you a diamond ring!" "That’s wonderful, honey" she’ll reply, ears ringing with the tacky indicator. "Can you please do something about the junk?".
So today, I conceded. I got rid of the baby bed.
I took it apart a screw at a time, and gently laid each piece aside. Then I stacked them in our van and started the engine.
I drove silently to dump. My eyes were on the road ahead, but my thoughts began to wander to another day. The day I first brought the bed to our little home.
It was an "Indian" Summer afternoon. We were expecting child number three.
Our first two children had slept on hand-me-downs, graciously provided to us by our family. As a young couple in the ministry, most of the things we had had been given to us by people that loved us. We had never spent notable sums of money on furniture or household items, nor
had it to spend.
I suppose we were still relatively young, but this was a time in our life when things were beginning to change. I was experiencing some of the first degrees of "success", and the idea of actually purchasing a nice bedroom set for the new baby wasn’t out of reach any more. In a
scandalous display of luxury, we went into a store and purchased a brand-new set, including bed, cradle, dresser, changing table, chairs, and a little rocker. We felt incredibly rich, and a little guilty.
With great joy we decorated the new room in expectation of the arrival. Tammye had spent a year talking me into a third baby, but now the arrival was greatly anticipated. The room was trimmed powder blue, and Tammye spent hours making the Peter Rabbit quilts, curtains,
dust ruffles and shams. And into this lace trimmed, soft, warm bed, was soon laid a tiny bundle with a downy head... named Mary Elizabeth.
As I drove to the dump I felt a lump form in my throat. My eyes started to burn.
I recalled standing over the bed by morning, waiting for those brown eyes to open and greet me. I recalled the nights I gripped the sides, and prayed over that bed.
Soon, more children were born into our house, as God revealed his plan for our lives. And with every sweet face that ever nestled down to sleep, that bed stood faithful vigil, holding my precious ones through the night. Oh the dreams dreamed upon that pillow!
How many nights did I slip in to pray over someone in that bed? I’m sure not nearly enough. More often they were spent in anxious worry over a fever or a cough. Nevertheless, God miracle working hand was evident in that very bed.
That bed saw at least three miracles. The first when we were told Jon-Jon would never walk again without a limp. He had fallen in a freak accident at age 2, and severely fractured his femur. Three months later the Orthopedist shook his head looking at the X-rays, and declared that if he had not personally known the accident occurred, he would never believe it. The second and third miracles both involved Hope, once when she was born beautiful (she had been diagnosed in-utero with a facial deformity) and again when she got into a "child-proof" cap at age two, but amazingly never experienced the liver damage the doctors predicted.
A tear slipped down my face.
Oh, the unseen angels that have stood watch by night over that little bed! Oh, the words God whispered into sleeping ears, and the visions born in that bed!
Then again, there was the time one of the babies discovered he could remove his diaper and decided to get creative. (I’m sure THAT never happened at anyone else’s house!) It’s probably the trauma from that memory alone that convinces my wife the bed needs to go!
It simply was not in any condition to give away. As I heaved the bed into to the dumpster, I whispered a sad goodbye. I stood there for several minutes, overcome with gratitude to God for his goodness to our family. Tears rolled down my face as I poured out a prayer of thanksgiving.
Everyone else dropping trash off at the dump eyed me warily and kept a safe distance.
How temporary everything material is! Even when God blesses us with "things", they don’t last. As the Proverb says "Riches do not endure forever". Fortunately, the real blessings of God, the lives he entrusts to us a parents will endure through eternity. That is ultimately all that will continue. They are all we send over to the "other side".
I’ve been thinking about the words of James "For what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
Indeed! Today’s treasure is tomorrow’s trash!