Which we did for a few seconds, then remembered our new mortgage and endless projects so we took a mini vacation: 2 days, 1 night. 30 hours to be precise. We planned this one month’s ago when the weather headed south. Yes. A trip to Great Wolf Lodge. (Or as our five year old pronounces it: “Graydulf Lodge.”) A beacon of sunshine in the midst of our gray, damp winter. For those of you unfamiliar with GWL, it’s a hotel featuring an indoor waterpark. There are about ten across the country – ours is about 2 hours away. Great customer service, good food, a wee bit spendy, but very fun.
Ahhh! The blast of hot, humid air as we entered the giant, glass front doors was like taking your first bite of cheesecake after an arduous month of dieting. A bit shocking to the system, yet oh so sweet and familiar. In a millisecond I remembered what Texas’ weather is like. The contrast was even more significant since we’ve had a few weeks of weather in the 30s and even more snow.
As kids your time at waterparks is filled with running from slide to slide, fabricating your tales of epic rides, and slowly tiring yourself as the hot sun slowly vacuums away your energy. Your only worries are that sunburn and long lines preventing you from riding the Maui Zowie less than 16 times. Fast forward a few years and your days at the waterpark (and vacations in general) completely change. Success is: not throwing up in the water, not losing your children, swimmy diapers that hold everything in, keeping your own bathing suit on despite little ones who yank on them to get your attention, and only having to console one bawling child at a time. Naps are lost; stimuli are everywhere; other families’ kids are squirting you in the face with water guns while you’re juggling towels, goggles, clothes, and wet wipes.
Maybe it’s taken me a while to accept, but…I accept. Jana and I are waterpark junkies. We love those slides, warm water, sunshine, not to mention waffle cones with mint chip ice cream. But going to a waterpark is no picnic anymore. Two sets of eyes have to watch three bobbing and weaving bodies. We circle like vultures, ready to intervene at any moment. I think we are prepared for air traffic control because of these experiences. But we wouldn’t trade it. In fact this was a self-inflicted experience. Our personal exhaustion was worth it. We got to watch our kids have a blast.
The theology of a waterpark? God delights in our delight. “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” says Psalm 34. Raising us is no picnic for him either, but He loves us so much that he gives us a lifetime filled with many waterpark experiences. If you have the perspective of God as a killjoy looking to ruin your day with parking tickets and flat tires, think again. All these cool things (beaches, friendships, babies, sunsets) are His. Ask Him what He’s got in store for you.