I had the choice of two titles for this post today. I chose this one because the other title had more than one meaning, and I didn’t want it to distract from what I was trying to say.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, children. The other day I kept the daughter of a friend of mine. She’s little (4), and I planned things to do I thought she would like. Since my sons are 20 and almost 18, it had been a long time since I had a young child in my home. My younger son and I went to get her in the morning and stopped at a local store before we went home. The first thing I noticed was that she could change her mind at lightning speed. She would tell me she wanted to do something, and then, seconds later, she would tell me she wanted to do the exact opposite. It was dizzying to keep up with.
After we arrived back home, I took her to see the lake at our apartment complex and then to the playground. It was fun to see things through the eyes of a child and to see her joy. I think we adults lose that sometimes.
Another thing we lose is our ability to be honest. Think about it. If a child doesn’t want to go to bed or eat his green beans, he will tell you in a heartbeat, right? And then, he will throw a tantrum if he doesn’t get his way. Now, some things are necessary even if a child doesn’t like them, and it’s our job as adults to show them what is important. But, that’s not my point. Children are honest about their likes, dislikes, fears, and joys. Their feelings can be seen on their faces. They haven’t learned to conceal them yet like adults have.
These thoughts continued to roll through my head as I watched her play a video game with my son, eat her lunch, and help me make chocolate cupcakes. She didn’t have to wonder if she was loved. She had a joy in living that I struggle to find sometimes. I remember, in particular, what she said when I gave her one of the cupcakes to eat. She wanted to watch my son play his game while she ate so I gave it to her in a little bowl and reminded her to eat it over the bowl so she wouldn’t spill crumbs. She looked up at me and said, “Mrs. Alisa, this is so much fun! Thank you!” Every part of her face and body radiated her joy. I told her I had enjoyed spending the day with her, and she proceeded to eat her cupcake.
Later on, I thought about what a good day we had. My family has a treasured relationship with this little girl and her family. Love is there and in a big way. It is not at all like my relationships with other adults. Not like when I look at my relationships and see the lack of them wondering what I’ve done. Not like when I stiffen up and find it hard to talk to people. Not like when I depend on regular gatherings to keep in contact with people and then they stop. It’s hard to know the answers to my questions because, as adults, we are trained to not be honest in our relationships. We are trained to be afraid of anything that is different from us. We are trained to not have joy.
I wonder sometimes if God looks down at us and wonders why we are not coming to Him as little children do. Why we can’t be honest about our joy and our tears. Why we hide behind a shiny veneer of ‘Everything’s great. Everything is just fine.’ instead of allowing people to see our broken hearts and our broken spirits. My guess is that He sadly shakes His head.
I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be the one who life has beaten down to the very nub. I want to be more like my little friend who shows her joy and her sadness, who shows her likes and her dislikes. I want to come to Jesus like a little child.
God’s blessings on you all today!