This morning one thing echoes through my thoughts as I watch my two girls at play: My children are blessed. I find myself longing to be just like them. I long to smile at the start of each new day instead of frown at its chores, to passionately embrace life instead of growl at its disorder, but, most of all, I marvel at the way they make each room of our cramped little house another world, another fantastic adventure.
Instead, I look around my room sighing at the piles of laundry that clutter my room, wondering when it will ever end when they run right past my depressed state and jump into the mountain of clothes, fleeing from whatever is chasing them.
As they scatter carefully sorted stuff everywhere, they squeal, “We’re safe! We’re safe!”
With adult-inspired criticism I demand, “What are you doing?!”
Out of breath they respond, “It’s a dragon; he’s chasing us!”
For a split second I consider jumping with them until my parenthood kicks in and I yell at them to find somewhere else to play.
“And how many times do I have to tell you, ‘There are no such things as dragons!’” I yell after them.
Smiles still plastered on inexhaustible faces, they march on. This time they arrive in the living room. All I can see when I get there are the smudges that cloud the fireplace glass. I skulk over to the sink preparing to clean up yet another mess. While I am finding a towel and some Windex, I hear them over my shoulder.
“Up, up and away!” they yell, giggling.
Just as I turn to see what they are doing, I watch my brave, triumphant two-year-old, determined to fly, soar from the fireplace hearth and fall into a heap on the floor. Mother juices flow and I abandon my chore to rescue my child. When I reach her she is already laughing. My four year old informs me that I am doing it all wrong.
“You must float!” she says with all the attitude only she can muster.
“Float?” I ask as if what she requests is ridiculous, realizing that my imagination is stifled by years of neglect.
“Yes, float! Like this,” and at that, she too jumps from the hearth and lands with an oomph on the floor.
“I’ll hurt myself,” I tell her with a look of doubt spreading across my face.
“So?” she says like it is no big deal at all.
“So? You say that like it doesn’t matter.”
“It won’t.” she replies with the confidence of her years, swimming around with her sister on the carpet.
“It won’t?” I say not quite understanding.
Then, with the ageless wisdom that only an innocent child can possess, she tells me with her hands cupped under her chin, “If you don’t jump, you can’t float.”
Looking around me, I consider what she has asked. Slowly, I take the first step onto the hearth; there is barely enough room to move with merely a foot between me and the floor. (Age makes the distance much shorter.) I close my eyes, stepping into a brave new world, a world I used to frequent often before time and the stress of life seeped in. I reach in and find her, my inner child, and allow her to come out and play. She smiles and screams at the top of her lungs, “To infinity and b-e-y-o-n-d!”
Suddenly, the hearth is the edge of the moon and my living room is a vast and endless outer space, I watch the children float before me as I plunge into their world. I land with a thud while my children giggle and laugh, welcoming me in. We swim around, floating, exploring space. Then, over my four-year-old’s shoulder I see someone that I haven’t seen in years; he looks the same - huge and green with large teeth and fire coming from his mouth. I grab onto the children. Their wide eyes tell me that they see him too, and we shout at the top of our lungs, “Ahh! It’s the dragon!”
Now, space has disappeared, and we are running for the mountains where we’re sure we’ll be safe!
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt.18:3
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