Sunday morning we got up and had our usual coffee cake, packed a picnic lunch, and headed out in our van. We had no real agenda or destination in mind, and the only plan was to enjoy the day together. The trees in Iowa weren't in their prime anymore, but as we kept driving, we kept hoping that eventually we would view those same spectacular sights. The best view we found in Iowa was at Bellevue State Park where the kids and I had taken our French student, Charlene, this summer, but it was fun to show this same spot to Harris and Haley this fall.
About the time we crossed over into Wisconsin, the kids were starting to doze off in the back seats, and the atlas was in my hands. Harris and I were looking at a couple different scenic routes we could take when I happened to comment that "The House on the Rock is over here." We had heard of it before, but we had no idea what it really entailed. Haley, however, popped up from her sleepy state and exclaimed, "The House on the Rock??? That's so cool! We have to go there! That would be really fun!" She had been invited to go there a few years ago with a friend, and it immediately conjured up very fun memories in her. Her logic was that if the trees were somehow a disappointment, this would be a fun thing to see instead.
So after some discussion, we decided that we'd head that way, and if it looked like something of interest, we'd maybe check it out. In our minds, it was going to be this little house built on a rock in some precarious way, we'd view it from afar, maybe have a tour of the inside, and then we'd be on our way again. Oh, no! Soon enough, we discovered that it was so much more than that! We spent the next three hours there checking out every nook and cranny of this house that this man, Alex Jordan, built and two more buildings worth of exhibits of all his collectibles and displays of his very creative and imaginative giftedness. We could have spent much more time there, but towards the end our minds were fried, and we felt very overstimulated. Words cannot even begin to describe what all we saw that afternoon! We had to laugh at their strategically placed "Fresh Fudge For Sale" at the end because a little chocolate did sound very tempting!
Here are just a few of the pictures we took that day.
|Keaton, Kelsey, and Haley at the beginning of the tour.|
|One of the many displays of musical instruments -- this one is very simplistic.|
|Part of the carousel he created using 20,000 lights.|
One of the most distinct things we experienced was what was called "The Infinity Room." It's a totally separate room that hangs off the side of the house and extends 218 feet into space and 156 feet above the valley floor. We could walk out in it and look through a glass piece of flooring. It was pretty impressive until we could feel it swaying a little bit, and then we were pretty glad to be back in the main structure again.
|Do you see how it keeps getting narrower the further you look?|
|We weren't allowed to go any further than this.|
|Here's a view of the outside that we saw later!|
As I was sitting at Bible study this morning, this one particular version of the song "The Solid Rock" came to my mind, and all afternoon my mind has been consumed with the words of that song and what all we have been experiencing. I've been thinking about that house we visited that was built on a rock. In reading some of the information on the builder, we learned that he was not a religious man, at least not in his early years. How sad is it that he built his whole life centered around that rock and maybe never knew what it was like to build his house on the SOLID ROCK, on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ! Our home IS built on the Solid Rock, and with that comes a whole lot of blessings. They may not be material, but they are worth far more than all the collectibles housed under his roof!
I'm finding great comfort in knowing that even though God may lead us into a room that extends way beyond our comfort level and make us wait there for a while, He will never let us fall to the ground or out of His grasp. He'll also keep on strategically putting people in our lives who are willing to extend their hand to us and help us hang on for the ride. Eventually He'll pull us back in, and we'll be standing on solid ground again.
Earlier today I had been sharing my fragile state of emotions with a few people and found myself explaining to them that I can be fine one minute and just a crying mess of tears the next, and it's been so frustrating for me. Jokingly I've been calling myself "Old Faithful" because I just never know when I will erupt, but it's really been true. One comment, one hug, one prayer -- anytime someone shows concern over Heath or our family -- can be enough to just get me all emotional. It doesn't even have to be personal contact with anyone but simply something I read or write while sitting at my computer or hear playing on the radio.
Even though I'd much rather be able to hold it all together when people ask, I'm finding myself so thankful that people care and that they take the time to express their concern. One friend just grabbed me and gave me a big hug the minute I walked in the church doors this morning. Another friend just looked at me in the middle of our discussion time and said, "I'm bringing you a meal tonight." Was that necessary? No, not at all, but appreciated, yes. Another friend at my table shared with me how she'd been specifically praying for Heath to find his comfort and strength in Jesus during those lonely times when thoughts of his condition and circumstances overwhelm him. These are just a few examples of the love we've been shown, and we appreciate every single act of kindness so much! What a blessing it is to know that even when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable points, other people are reaching out to us and pulling us closer to the heart of God. Our hope is in Him alone. He is our life . . . our strength . . . our song. Listen to the song below. May you find your strength in Him too.