Playdates with God: Chasing the Truck

Summer is in full swing in our little valley home. The children have abandoned a reasonable night time schedule; the temperatures have been sizzling in the 90s; the fireflies are out in all their glory.

But something even more telling has hurdled us headlong into fun in the sun: the arrival of the dreaded ice cream truck. 

This predatory creature always seems to know just when dinner time is. It summons children like the pied piper. Doors are recklessly flung ajar as soda pop music is piped into the air, cajoling them into a trancelike state. The children with less astute hearing are soon enlightened by their friends, and it doesn’t take long for the streets to come alive with young voices.
And last night, as I sit in the cool of the evening on the front porch with my Jeffrey, he begins to plead his case for a tasty frozen treat. I remind him that we have a whole box of perfectly good popsicles in our freezer. They’re just not packaged as nicely. They’re not wrapped up in his favorite cartoon character, and they certainly don’t come with a song
.
But as I lecture, my ears prick up. What is that? It sounds like the carousal music from a fair long past. My heart skips a beat and I feel the pull. I want to run down the street in pursuit of that joy on wheels. Instead, I give my boy a couple dollars and watch our street come alive.
As I watch the doors flapping and the legs flying, I start to wonder.  Maybe I sometimes don’t put Jesus in the right packaging. I wrap Him up in Sunday mornings and hymns that are hundreds of years old; in pious looks and judgmental glares; or legalism and rituals that mean nothing to those who have never been to church. 
Where is the fun in that?
I should be a living, breathing ice cream truck for Jesus, but instead, I’m more like the mail truck. I deliver the message with little excitement. No song. No treat. Just a plain old box. 
I know full well all the joy there is in knowing Jesus. Yet, I greedily hoard away this delight, concealing it from the very ones who need to see. 
As I run after him, am I inviting my friends, calling joyfully to them to follow? Do I pipe out into my world this music in my heart? Do I let this color He puts into my days seep out of this package? 
The great thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t come around only when it’s convenient. He doesn’t just go down the streets with the most customers. He chases after me. 
And you know what? He is every flavor. He is the song. He is the joy. 
So, go ahead. Chase the truck.
This is a repost from quite a few years ago that first appeared in our local paper The Charleston Gazette. My little one, of course, is now 13…but he still chases the ice cream truck. And of course, I do too.
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
 
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Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: 

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Photo by whimsylove. Sourced via Flickr creative commons.

Comments

  1. says

    I can hear the music now, the pitter patter of feet on pavement. We have one of the those trucks in our neighborhood. He’s been around a lot lately. And yes, you do present the music of joy, deliver Him beautifully wrapped and what you give tastes good Laura.

  2. says

    Be the ice cream truck. I love this, Laura. 🙂 We have an ice cream truck too (although it sometimes seems a little sketchy…we won’t be like that one. ha).

  3. says

    Ah, yes, Laura, He doesn’t need any packaging, does He? He is so all-beautiful in Himself. I wonder why we confine him in our humanly contrived packages, instead of “pip[ing] out into my world this music in my heart,” and letting “this color He puts into my days seep out”? Beautifully expressed! (And you even made me want to go looking for the ice cream truck!)

  4. says

    As the mother of many little ones, I cringe at the ice cream truck as well. Thanks for this fresh perspective. (I won’t buy anything from them, but I’ll be a little less reluctant to dole out some treats at home to add music and color to our lives.)

    Thank you for this weekly spot to land!

  5. says

    Convicting. I tend to wrap Jesus up the same way and pray often to keep my life free of legalism and pious rituals. When you are raised in extreme legalism it’s sometimes hard to find the balance of just being the truck and honoring your parents. So thankful for Jesus and His joy!

  6. says

    I love this…such a great picture…our ice cream truck has an off tune song that seems to drag…Oh, now when I hear this truck…instead of oh yuck…it will be a source of prayer…oh Lord make my life a beautiful song for you so others will run out hard after your Love. blessings as we all sing together.

  7. says

    Be the ice cream truck. What a great way to put it.

    There are no ice cream trucks on Taha’a, the island in French Polynesia where I lived. When my sister came from Taha’a to visit me (her first trip outside Polynesia), her husband instantly recognized the ice cream truck’s music. We raced outside so he could buy a treat for their little girl.

    Jesus-music is like that, isn’t it? We know it when we hear it, even if we’ve never heard it before?

  8. says

    Oh I can sing that happy song with you now. I’ve only ever lived in one town with an ice cream truck and its untimely (yes- always at dinner time) arrival always made my whole crew jump and dance. I think Jesus will serve us ice cream BEFORE supper in Heaven 🙂

  9. says

    We have an ice cream truck, too, and now that you mention it, it does usually come at suppertime. 🙂

    “I should be a living, breathing ice cream truck for Jesus.” What a delightful idea! Thank you for that.

  10. says

    I don’t know that I ever chased the truck. My girls would tell you I have no problem with fun and don’t feel at all like I have to be so practical but the ice cream truck did always seem like a crazy thing to do.

    But I love your thoughts. I think I felt confined by others for so many years….trying to not rock the boat with a FUN Jesus and message. But thankfully I have erupted out of that….I have lost a few friends but when I see the faces of people who have never heard anyone talk about Jesus in such a personal joyful way, well…it’s eye opening to them and so worth the other losses.

    He is One to fall in love with not just follow in some narrow, stoic path of obedience. There is such joy found with Him. Hmmm, now I wonder what wonders we missed out on with the ice cream truck. (c:

  11. says

    I tend to think ice cream trucks (at least the ones around here) tend to be a little sketchy, too.

    But. Despite the sketchiness of my experience, I get your invitation to run after Jesus with uninhibited joy, like a kid in the heat of summer craving sweetness and relief. And I love the idea of chasing Him being so impractical at times. I do tend to focus, too often, on what is practical–it’s not really efficient to pay for a Sponge Bob Popsicle when there is already a box full of the store-brand ones in the freezer.

    But where did I ever get the idea that following Jesus was going to be practical?

  12. says

    oh yes…may we all let the world see how beautiful Jesus is…sigh…lovely…thank you, Laura, and praying God’s peace for you today (2 Thes. 3:16) for you in all that you do… hugs to you 🙂

  13. says

    So, what’s wrong with the mailtruck? We can deliver some good news with some good joy.

    But, the Postal Service will never ever compete with the ice cream truck.

    I have to ask…what about the music? Who picked that song and what institution are they committed to?

  14. says

    Oh I remember the ice cream man well Laura. Mom didn’t give in often, but when she did it was a rare treat. Such great memories.
    I love the analogy. I remember watching a movie (can’t remember which one though) about Jesus where He joked with and teased his disciples as they were walking along. I love that image. How inviting such a picture of Jesus would be to others. You are so right.

  15. says

    Laura, this came so much in time for me.

    Just last night we were talking about commercial jingles on TV, which lures the children to pine for their products, continuously plead for the money to jump out of the wallet, and go for the taste of their sweet tooth. This is the new packaged bundle of frozen choco vanilla…. by the name of Magnum. It cost a little more than a dollar to your US$.

    Your analogy is so thought provoking. What if we wrapped Jesus with the same packaging launched with melody to match, will it lure the ones who need Him the most?

    My pastor son, was so taken with this same line of thinking, so he went for a stage to preach and worship, just like an Pop Concert stage. Why not! The young people love it.

    Sigh.

  16. says

    Smiling. Reminds me of the bomb pop I’d always choose as a little girl. Surprises me now that it wasn’t chocolate. Love the deeper reminders here about how we’re communicating our love of Jesus.

  17. says

    Oh, you brought me back to my childhood! I remember the sound, sight and feeling of that ice cream truck coming around when I was a kid. We don’t have them around where I live now. But hey, if that is the impression it left on me then I certainly want to package Jesus and offer it to others like that!

  18. says

    What Jennifer said. That’s so funny because it’s almost exactly what I was going to say. No ice cream trucks out here in the country, but the Schwan’s man delivers across the street. For us, it’s a run to the Dairy Queen, even though I can buy a whole carton of ice cream for the price (or less) of one Blizzard.

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