Peace and love to you all.
Not every memory here is going to be this long, extensive historical record of our time with my dad. Sometimes, like today, there are just little fun memories that come up and stick around.
This was a few summers ago here in Fargo and Dad, Adam, and I were running errands. Getting gas, picking up groceries, that sort of thing. Well, it just so happened that Dad needed to wash his car, so we went to the nearest car wash and started the process.
Now, there are two things to note here. First, as I said, it was summer. And a hot one at that. I know that typically, and for good reason, North Dakota is seen as an icy scape of endless snow and cold. This is not an unfair description in winter. However, during the summer, we can absolutely crest the 90–100-degree mark in temperature, so we get some nice time to boil like lobsters before getting tossed back in the freezer. This particular day was one of those hot, sticky, 'stay inside with a cool lemonade' kind of days. We were, to put it mildly, all already a bit annoyed at the heat.
The other thing to note is that while some carwashes, especially more modern ones, have the ability to just put your car in neutral and let it keep running as you go through, this particular station was more old-school. This meant that the car had to be completely shut off and placed in park. As a result, the ride through the carwash felt less like a quick diversion from the day and more like we had been sealed in a sarcophagus and buried in Ancient Egypt.
Dad and I, sitting in the front seats, groused and complained, but we heard no word from Adam. Just when we had settled, though, a small, tired voice came from the back seat.
"Too hot. Gonna die."
It took a moment for things to register and then Dad started to giggle. Not burst into uproarious laughter - giggle. This swept through the car until all three of us were in fits of laughing as we approached the exit of the carwash. Once Dad turned the car back on, we were met with a wave of blessedly cool air and the strange, almost-surreal moment was gone.
What can we take away from this? Simple: that there is the potential for joy and laughter and moments of happiness, even in dark or uncomfortable times. There have been tears and sad moments over the past month and those will come again, but there have been times of laughter and love and connection and those are what I choose to hold onto in the darker nights. We can find happiness with each other and through God.
I'll leave you with another verse today, this time about joy in times of pain.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.