There’s nothing like a bathtub full of bubbles to make you smile. I’ve watched my grandkids turn from frumpy to fun-loving with a fistful of bubbles. They make bubble beards, bubble biceps, bubble hats, bubble mountains. The creativity and fun is endless with the foamy white that fills the tub.
Isley uses two washcloths she calls her otters and makes them swim in circles to create more bubbles. We were having otter contests to see who could make the biggest bubbles, who could make their otter swim the fastest, whose otter could hold their breath the longest. (That’s a game that could go on indefinitely if I don’t quit and let her win.) I love our conversations as she’s playing in the tub–they change as quickly as those bubbles dissipate.
But she had me tonight. “Where did the bubbles go, Nana? Why don’t they stay? I wanna play with ’em.” She’d been in the tub for close to an hour, was looking a little pruney and was making do with the thin layer of bubbles that remained. I could have told her that they’re absorbed in the water over time. I could have helped her understand the fragility of bubbles. But I wasn’t thinking of bubbles just then.
I was thinking of a dear friend whose heavenly homegoing happened suddenly this past week.
And I was thinking of the fragility of life.
My friend left behind a family who loved him dearly, a family he loved with tender devotion. He was a lover of people, caring for anyone and everyone who crossed his path. He was able to care for others because he loved Jesus so well. At his memorial, what was spoken of was how he chose to love others. And if I’ve overused the word “love”, it’s fitting. It will be his legacy.
Life and bubbles. It would be cliche to say life is like a tub of bubbles, but the irony is that the brevity of bubbles is much like the brevity of life. We can’t hang on to either indefinitely. What we can do is choose to embrace the life we have while we have it, finding joy in the small things, the “bubbles” of the moment. We hold the blessings of life in our hands, not without pain or problems, but with the hope given us by a loving Creator. We choose our focus. We choose our attitudes.
There’s something sad about a tub at the end of a really good bubble bath. The bubbles are gone. The water’s dirty. Towels are strewn on the floor. It’s done.
But while the bath lasted, what fun there was! And the joy was there until the last bubble was gone.
“Where’d the bubbles go, Nana?” The better question is, “Did I really enjoy them while they were here?”