“Maybe I could have my own show on the History Channel; ‘The curse of Matchbox County.’”
Seeing Space X launch a Tesla driven by a spacesuit clad mannequin into orbit around the sun a few weeks ago got me to thinking about the– too long ago– 1969 moonshot. I remember very well watching it on our big console color TV, I have no doubt that every American with a television, which was everyone by then, was watching this unfold with, “I’m Walter Cronkite and that’s the way it is.” I remember staying up late with my mom and stepdad watching and waiting for Neil Armstrong to emerge from the Eagle and take that first step on the dusty grey surface of the moon.
I remember my stepdad commenting as we were watching the Eagle land that it might just sink out of sight in the dust, because, how do we know what the moon is made of? It didn’t, but it got my 8 year old mind to worrying that the astronauts might just jump out of the landing capsule and sink out of sight in dry lunar quick sand. I had watched Tarzan movies—it could happen! Quick sand is everywhere! “Don’t struggle, I’ll throw you a vine!”
But, all we got is “one small step for man” and life went on, no quick sand, no aliens, no moon bases from which to explore the galaxy like we all read about in Isaac Asimov’s books.
Thinking back on this got me replaying my childhood in my mind as I tried to remember other things about my life in this time period, life was so much different back then in so many ways. But it was a good time to be a kid, a very good time, us kids were free and we were many— in the baby boom. Hard to believe it’s been a half a century ago now, and now I understand how some of those folks who went from horse and buggy days to seeing a man land on a moon on TV must have felt.
Most of us have more technology, computing capability and access to information in our back pockets then the entire control room at NASA combined during those moon landings and certainly more than the spacecraft themselves did and satellites track our every move via those same devices we willingly carry. To me the memories of my childhood when social networking meant gathering on the corner to decide teams for the next impromptu game of baseball, football or hockey, are treasures. But they are fading and I was having a hard time reconciling some of the dates with my memories. But, then my memory hasn’t always been infallible either, like remembering where I buried my treasure in our back yard.
As a young child my treasure was Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, especially the Hot Wheels—now they were awesome. Little diecast cars in futuristic sleek shiny styles, an inch and a half of pure fantasy as you imagined owning a car just like that someday.
I would save up my dimes and nickels and when I got a dollars’ worth, me and my buddy, would ride our bikes down to Main Street in the small town we lived in and go into the basement of Gambles all by ourselves, the basement was where all the toys were—it was heaven. But all I was really interested in was the rack off to one side with all the Hot Wheels cars hanging on display in all their glory.
99¢ apiece, ironic that that is pretty close to what they still cost today, but these were American made, hand painted, state of the art cutting edge toys in the late 60’s. If you picked just the right one you would be the envy of the neighborhood and the bartering power it gave you was unmatched.
But then one day I started to get worried. What if I play with my cars so much that I get tired of them?—shutter the thought. So I had a solution. I put them all in a metal Batman lunch box, well most of them, and buried them in the back yard under the big pine tree. No one will ever find them there and next summer I can dig them up and it’ll be like having brand new cars all over again. Brilliant! Then winter came and froze the ground and covered it with a few feet of Northern Minnesota snow.
Then we moved across town—before the snow melted. Whoops. Of course I couldn’t tell my folks what I did, not that it would have mattered, it would have just made me look foolish. Well, I certainly didn’t get tired of them, in fact I had to start a new collection, oh well, maybe someday like Black beard the Pirate I will return for my lost buried treasure. Maybe I could have my own show on the History Channel; ‘The curse of Matchbox County.’
I kind of doubt that after a half century in the wet Minnesota soil there is much left of my tin lunch box or my cars. And, actually I did return a couple of years later. Turns out my parents didn’t sell that house, they just rented it out and we moved back into it for a while after selling our new house in preparation to move to New Mexico. My excitement of moving back to treasure Island was short lived though, because the huge Pine tree I had buried my treasure under was gone and try as I might I could not find that box of cars.
Besides, you can only get away with digging so many holes in your backyard before your parents take issue. The lost treasure remains lost. Those cars are probably worth a fortune on eBay today if I did still have them. Oh well, in the end all turns to dust and rust right?
Dust and rust, now there’s a picture of futility, but that is the way of it. It’s a good thing that we do have something that we can hold on to, something that is worth more than we can ever repay or imagine and can never be lost or stolen—the word of God planted in our hearts, in our heads, in our souls—life giving, hope inducing, healing and strengthening, and always right where we left it untarnished and safe.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Mat 6:19—21
It is amazing and a testament to its inspired nature that the word of God remains relevant, powerful and meaningful even today for those who take the time to look into it and explore their own hearts in light of it. That’s because no matter our surroundings we are still humans with feeling, fears and passions with a capacity to love, hurt and dream just as Adam and Eve and every person who has ever lived since has. And that is what the word addresses, the heart.
It is the word of a God whose image we are created in so it will always be relevant. Knowing it is an investment in ourselves—in eternity.