Once in a lifetime

A very smart man once told me, “You can sleep when you die”. They are words I’ve heard before, but the talk after was something that gripped my heart. He said, “when you’re young you say, ‘I will do this when I’m older’ but you might not, but when you’re older, reality sets in that this is you when you’re older”.

That talk was just the motivation I needed to get me up and out of my bed. You see, I have been stretched to my limits this week and today I was pooped. I was bound and determined to get a nap in but that I could do back in Oklahoma. Now in Chicago on the other hand, had sights to be seen! So my nap, “I could get it when I’m dead”, or when I’m back home.

So my evening started with a ride into downtown Chicago to see Navy Pier and The “Bean” with 9 of the most incredible students ever, and two leader/parents who I’ve known for 10 years or so. We got down to the pier with a tentative schedule of being back in an hour (by 6pm). So we blazed through all the sights of the pier, gazed into the Lake Michigan

Then it included shopping in the local gift stores of the pier where I just happened to find some postcards for my beautiful girlfriend (shhhh don’t tell her). When I looked at my watch, we had burnt 45 minutes and we needed to leave soon, and even then going to see the bean looked far out of reach. So as my spirits began to lessen I began to see that the bean, the thing I wanted to go see most, I wouldn’t get to see.

So as we packed up our stuff and our kids, we set out on the journey “home”. But that wasn’t all we did.

We drove by the park, in downtown Chicago traffic (craziness) because it was right by the pier. As we approached it there were bushes and trees blocking every possible direction and the bean was nowhere to be found. We took a right to see the back half of the park and there it was. Tucked beneath the trees of Millennium Park was the infamous BEAN


Look at it! It’s magical (a magic bean 😉) but that’s not the moral of the story. It’s not about a bean or a pier. It’s about making memories with friends you love. See I failed to mention one tiny aspect.

The BEST part of this whole experience was this: when we finally saw the bean hiding behind the trees we were in crazy downtown traffic, nowhere to park, nowhere to stop. But then we get stuck at red light, right across from the bean. A normal everyday red light that at home would be annoying but for this occasion it was a blessing. We sit at the red light and I had just joked that I was going to jump out, in traffic, to go take pictures. But this time I was the one told, “go, get the kids and go see it”. So we did! All 10 of us, jumped out of our 12 passenger van in Chicago traffic, ran across the park, to see this attraction


But once again, the moral of THIS story is not the bean. It’s the fact that these memories I will tell my kids and my grandkids, that I jumped out of a van in Downtown Chicago with 9 of my students to see “the bean”. Never again will this happen, never again will I have the opportunity to replicate this moment. So my nap and my new approach to napping over making memories is this:

“you can sleep when you die”- Jerry Rappe 7/6/12

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