Monday, July 7, 2008
I am often accused (by my daughters)of being more like a twelve year old boy than the grown up woman(with many titles before and after my name)I am. I am particularly prone to walking barefoot, not worrying about mirrors, impulsively jumping in bodies of water and skipping stones at random times. I live all the trappings necessary of a grown up - I raised three competent and lovely daughters and they were clothed, fed and well educated - but I am pleased to be silly and playful whenever possible. And so really are they and their daddy.
Jesus welcomed the little ones, who had messy hands and little control of their voices or limbs. He wrapped his arms around the out of control, the skipping, the frolicking, the chaos that is children. And he wraps his arms around us, who for all of our adult trappings - language, fashion, sophistication, church politics, opinions and responsible jobs - still ache to be held, comforted and sheltered from the harshness of the world. We want to play and God invites us to do so, but we hold back. In Jesus, we find God reaching out to that kid in each of us. The child who is authentic, vulnerable, playful, scared, misunderstood and often defined by others. God reaches out to those who have fallen and gotten scraped up, those who are chosen last for the team, those who ache to be included and those who never do well on tests or in competitions. God reaches out to the little ones, and invites us to do likewise for ourselves and others.
My prayer today is for God to show me that child, in me and in others, and for me to rejoice in all the wonderful things that child can show me. The courage to make mistakes, the courage to play and the fearlessness to forget mirrors and opinion polls and go barefoot in the rain. May we all remember today that there are children everywhere who are vulnerable and aching to be loved. They might be just kids or the adult sitting next to you on the train or standing in the grocery store check out line. May God give us the eyes to see their beautiful child amidst the control of the adult world, and hands to reach out in love and acceptance.