Monday, February 4, 2013

Things you do for love

Mardi Gras.

Krewe of Centaur parade in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Where to begin?

Usually, there is only one parade we go to during Mardi Gras season- and we only do that one because it basically starts in my backyard.  However, this year, my sister and her family came in from Dallas and wanted to go to the big parade- the one you go to with your family and 300,000 of your closest friends.

Call me a hater, but I was less than enthusiastic.

Nevertheless, I decided to brave it because life is full of choices and the one facing me was whether to sit at home and do laundry and edit pictures or to spend time investing in the relationships with my sister and her family.

We went.

And lo and behold, the weather was glorious, there was a huge grassy hill that our kids played on for hours, and it was actually not too crowded and not too uncomfortable. 

It was fun. 

We made friends with the nice family next to us who shared their spot, we rode scooters in the street, we took lots of pictures, and it turns out that it was a good decision. 
 Granted, we were in the family-friendly zone situated right next to a police hub so I can't speak to how much fun we would have had further on down the route, but we did it just right and it was the perfect spot for us. 

 When the sun went down, the anticipation rose and the parade commenced. 
Anna Grace later asked why we celebrate Mardi Gras.  Jack and I went through the history of our state's Catholic roots and Fat Tuesday as a day to feast before the 40 day Lenten fast leading up to Easter, but even Anna Grace caught on to the tenuous premise.  That's when we told her that the celebration has become more of a celebration of Louisiana culture than anything else which is somewhat true at least for us Louisianians despite Mobile, Alabama's strong feelings otherwise. 
 But what is even more true than that is that deep within the human heart, we long for the King of glory to parade into our lives.

 "Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.  Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.  Who is he, this King of glory?  The Lord Almighty- he is the King of glory."  Psalm 24:7-10

 I think it might be true that much of what we do- from the most misguided sinful expression of this longing to the most humble and worshipful expression- is because we long to see our BEAUTIFUL GLORIOUS RIGHTEOUS King come and parade in and fix everything so that we can celebrate with complete joy and triumph.  Whether we're aware of it or not, this informs what we do. 

 He is altogether lovely- outstanding among ten thousand.  When we see Him, we'll know that He is what we've been longing for. 

 All of the celebration and the music and the lights of Mardi Gras point to that longing.   

 I can't wait for that Day that He comes and we can really celebrate in spirit and in truth.
But for now, I'm glad I went on Saturday. 

Until the King of glory comes in all his beauty and all his fullness, I'll keep trying to learn from what he teaches me by the choices we make in the meantime. 

And next time, it will be an even easier decision.  Love before laundry every time. 

(And here's to the 5%, Amy!)


Nora Greer said...

Good thing you documented it with photos; otherwise I may not have believed you went...crowds and all! WTG!!

Anonymous said...

I loved this, Candace. It perfectly expresses my Mardi Gras feelings. I couldn't even explain it to myself, but you just explained it beautifully! I love Mardi Gras because I love my adopted state Louisiana. But you're so right! Even when we don't know what we're doing or why, we all are longing for the glorious celebration of our returning King! I want to be wise like you when I grow up, friend!