Posted by: kathryngraves | July 10, 2012


We didn’t intend to scare our almost-three-year old grandson. Honest. We left our son’s house at around 9:00 p.m. on the 4th of July looking for a fireworks display to watch. We rode in his Jeep Rubicon with the top off for better viewing. My husband used his phone to Google local fireworks display locations and start times. We decided to by-pass the Six Flags show in favor of the one in Thornton.

As we drove off the interstate exit ramp into a traffic jam, Jeremy told us he thought he knew where to go to stay far enough away so Carson would enjoy the colors without being frightened by the noise. The lawn chairs cramming the sides of the road should have been our first clue. The direction they all faced should have been our second clue. To avoid some of the stalled traffic, Jeremy pulled into the left turn lane, and then swung around into a gas station. Other vehicles took up the whole parking lot, so he rolled up beside one of the pumps and switched off the engine.

“O’r the laaand of the free, and the hoooome of the . . . brave!” The song ending sounded like it was live. We didn’t have the radio on, so I realized it must be live!

Kaboom! The ground shook with the reverberation as a rocket exploded directly overhead. Carson’s whole little body shook and he cried, “I want to go home!”

“Do you want to go inside?” his daddy said.

“Yeeesss!” Carson reached out his arms.

Jeremy took Carson inside while Bo and I watched the most amazing — and close! — fireworks display. We had unwittingly parked right across the street from the launch site. Evidently the city leaders decided to move the location from a field to a more urban, paved spot for fire safety reasons. Thornton is a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

Poppy and Daddy took turns entertaining Carson in the convenience store while I enjoyed the show, standing in the backseat of the jeep and leaning on the roll bar. They brought Carson out toward the end and he sat hunkered in his car seat beside me with Poppy on the other side, his hands over Carson’s ears.

Afterward, we raced for the main road to be one of the first out of town. We didn’t relish the idea of another traffic jam. Driving back into downtown Denver, we could see three other fireworks shows in the distance across the valley. Carson liked those. They seemed safe.

As we crossed the Speer Street bridge back into downtown, we discovered it was adjacent to the launch location of the Six Flags display. The grand finale crashed and boomed right over our heads!

Carson cried again, “I want to go home!”

Poppy, who sat next to Carson in the back seat, put his hands over the little guy’s ears again. I took in the beauty and wonder of the moment with abandon.

What was the difference between Carson and myself? I knew the fireworks would not hurt us. Past experience, and the knowledge gained by it, enabled me to relax in wonderment. Carson just focused on the noise. It sounded dangerous, so he assumed it was.

Circumstances that look or sound dangerous sometimes catch us by surprise. Maybe we think we’re prepared, or in the right place, but still they rock our world. What do we do? How can we survive? By remembering our past experience with God and trusting Him not to harm us. Mature Christians have an advantage here. We’ve got more experience under our belts. But all of us, new Christians or not, can and should look up in wonder at the beauty God creates in our lives out of the scariest circumstances.



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