Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rhinos, Kites and Exotic Flowers

I came back from church on Sunday encouraged, but slightly dreading the homework that had to get done that afternoon. God knew better than I did though, and a few minutes after I got back, Michelle came into my room asking if I wanted to go outside to do homework. Sure enough, an hour later, we were on a bus headed north.

Homework did get done, but what was more important was the renewal and refreshment we both experienced on our little outing to Lincoln Park. The sky was overcast, but the breeze was warm and all of Chicago was outside, it seemed. We found a spot on the grass in front of the Conservatory and sat on Michelle's polka-dotted little blanket, while eating dried mango. Michelle did word studies for Hermeneutics and I researched poverty and child development.

I didn't notice how wonderful this moment was until Michelle looked up from her homework and said:

"Claire, not only do we have exotic flowers behind us, we are also sitting right next to rhinos!!"

The laughter came bursting out.

Why yes, this "ordinary" moment in Chicago was actually not so ordinary. We were sitting in front of the Conservatory, which has more flowers than I can count, but we could also spot the rhinos in the zoo on our left. The Lincoln Park zoo is free, but we didn't even walk in on this day. Instead, we sat on the grass and watched kids fly their kites in the light spring wind. I wouldn't have noticed the beauty of this moment if Michelle had not commented on it.

This is the bright side of Chicago.

We got a bit chilly as little tiny raindrops started falling, so we left our perch and found a cute little place called Cafe Vienna, where I drank hot chocolate that reminded me (in a good way) of European vending machine hot chocolate, but better. It was a day of not rushing, not worrying, still getting some things done, and exploring. After it was all said and done, I did have to marvel at this city and all the treasures in it.

I may not have mountains and quiet, but instead, I have rhinos, kites, and exotic flowers - the oddest combination you could imagine. Yet somehow, in this city, it works.

The Lord had planned this afternoon for me and it was just what I needed. Thank you, Father. 


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