“Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” the Disciples asked.
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:1-5, NIV)
The cows. We have a lot of conversations about the cows in the field we pass on the way to school. “Those cows are bigger than you Momma,” my talkative three-year old says.
“I sure hope so son,” I reply. He chirps with excitement as we pass the construction trucks; naming the excavators, bulldozers and dump trucks working on the roadside. Then we pass a black truck.
“That truck looks like Daddy’s, and that one too!”
He comments about the grain silos that he calls big water towers. I try to correct him, but give up after a minute. Because arguing with a toddler usually goes nowhere. He peers over the cotton fields and then notices the beauty of wild flowers on the side of the road. “We should pick some of those flowers,” he cheerfully mentions. He notices everything from the really tall trees to the birds on the power lines.
And then sometimes he mentions the Lion in the clouds.
I’ll be honest with you. Most days my toddler is really exhausting, especially in the morning. A lot of the times, I’m half listening to what he says on our fifteen minute ride. I have the canned responses down to a tee. “Un-huh”, “okay”, “that’s cool”, and “later” can satisfy most questions or comments.
One morning, after I had two cups of coffee, I decided to really pay attention to the musings of my child. What I realized is that his fifteen minutes were spent marveling at the creations of a King. Really soaking in the beauty of everything from a weed to the man in the hardhat. He noticed intricate details in a perfectly woven scenery.
I on the other hand usually noticed the minutes ticking away on the clock, because I was running a little behind. My impatience of catching yet another red light broad casted by my fingertips tapping away on the steering wheel. I’d glance down at the text message that just popped on my screen while waiting on the light. Five minutes into the drive, I’ve already ran through my to-do list for the day twice in my mind. All of this while I usually had a talk show or song playing in the background.
“So much noise,” I thought.
Then I remembered long road trips as a child. I started to think about that little girl riding in the backseat. The one that noticed the tiniest of things outside the window just like her son. The wide eyes that curiously scanned the surroundings. I remembered her smiling and waving at the passenger in the car next to her.
I remembered the times when there wasn’t any noise and I was able to witness the amazement of God’s handiwork.
I realized I grew up and somewhere along the way I forgot to bring that little girl with me.
The little girl who could sit contently on a grassy hill with her old black Labrador. Contentment was simply found in the company of a trusted old friend and a warm sunny day. Being bored was a blessing.
The little girl who consoled a friend that fell off her bike with a band-aid and Popsicle. She understood that friends were a gift and made sure to take care to comfort them.
The little girl who didn’t care that her hand-me-down pants were always a few inches too short. Comparison and jealousy held no place in that little girl’s heart. Her needs were always met.
The little girl who asked her mom way too many questions. She was enthusiastically curious and willing to learn. She went to the wisest person she knew for the answers.
The little girl who always said, 'cheese' while taking a picture. She was never ashamed to have her picture taken and looking extra goofy was often the objective.
The little girl who twirled and danced, just because. Joy radiated from her tiny heart. Simply living gave reason to dance.
The little girl who perfectly clasped her hands and bowed her head during the blessing. Gratefulness was second nature.
The little girl who never questioned that she belonged to a good, good Heavenly Father.
She was content, compassionate, secure, curious, confident, joyous, grateful, and faithful. She never competed for a place in this world or a place next to the King. She simply felt that she belonged.
Well that little girl did grow up as it happens. But those car rides with her son remind her to see, touch, listen and feel from a child’s perspective.
One morning, on that quick commute, I noticed my son was a little too quiet. Glancing in the rear-view mirror, I saw his little head tilted back staring up and out the window.
He was looking for that Lion in the clouds again. He was looking for Jesus.
“I’m looking for Him too buddy,” I thought.
Have you grown up too? It happens. It’s supposed to. But did you leave that uninhibited child-like faith and wonderment behind? If so, it’s time to find it.
“God wants a child’s heart with a grownup’s head.” C.S. Lewis