It’s been really rainy in Seattle over the last week or so. Actually, it’s often rainy here in the winter but this last week has felt especially wet. Today was one of those days where the deep grey clouds were low and the sound of the rain on the roof was constant and rhythmic, like the sound of a clothes dryer groaning in the background. I felt like the weather outside has matched my mood as of late. Maybe I have a case of the winter blues or maybe it has been a difficult season of life; maybe it has been a little bit of both. There is just a lingering sadness that I haven’t been able to shake. But there was a break in the weather (as in my sadness… because it’s still raining outside) as I put Dietrich down to bed.
Like most parents, we have our regular and fairly consistent bedtime routine for Dietrich. I heat up a bottle of milk, change his diaper and put on his jammies, then I bring him to the rocking chair and read him a story. There is a stack of books on the table by the chair that Samantha is always populating with different stories. Usually I grab a couple books and read to him. After story time I give him his bottle and put him to bed. Tonight was no different. After reading a few books, I picked up one that I haven’t read to him before and I had never heard of. It’s called Roxaboxen. While it’s a story for older kids, I figured Dietrich was tired enough to make it through the whole story without getting bored so I opened it up. I found handwriting inside the front cover. This book was a gift from my cousin Sara to Dietrich. She said it was her favorite story as a kid and that it always reminded her of growing up with all our cousins. Then she quoted Philippians 4:8 which says, “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I was touched by her sentiments and found myself excited as I started reading to Dietrich.
If you’ve never read Roxabexen it is a story of a group of kids who play “town” in a big open field. They mark the property for their house and the property for their store with different sized stones. In the town of Roxaboxen there are ice cream shops, banks, and anything else a kid would love to run. To own a car all you need is something that resembles a wheel; to own a horse all you need is a stick and a handle. It’s a sweet story about the imagination of children. On the last page you learn all the kids have grown up and moved away and now they have kids of their own. The author reminds the reader that even though everyone has grown up, Roxaboxen is not gone, they can visit anytime they want.
I found myself unexpectedly emotional after finishing the story. Like my cousin said, it reminded me of my childhood and my imagination. I sat there rocking my son, with his tired eyes gazing deep into my heart and I found myself transported to my childhood “Roxaboxen.” I was so pleased to find that those memories hadn’t left me.
I turned off the light and rocked my son to sleep. I rocked him for an extra long amount of time because I didn’t want these memories to end and I prayed that he would someday have those rich memories too.
On this gloomy winter day with a soul that matched, I was transported to a place of joy and hope: a place of wonderful imagination. Even on our most morose days, there is a Roxaboxen that loves to be visited, in fact you still have a house and a store waiting there for you.
I can only imagine that it’s for reasons like this that Jesus encouraged his followers to have faith like children. And in times when you feel like life has you down, you can heed the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Thank you Sara for reminding me of Roxaboxen.