November 16, 2011

Like This Child

She sat among her toys for maybe two minutes. Scattered about were books, stuffed animals, a pretend phone, and the xylophone that her mother played with twenty-five years ago. The yellow mallet with its bulbous ends is taped to its string. The masking tape is brittle with time. I strike up and down the colorful scales and it makes her smile.

Then she was gone. The idea of staying on a pallet was mine not hers. She gets wedged under the end table and I laugh.

With all the effort a ten-month old could muster, she chased the dog who has a keen sense of just how near to let her come before dashing off. Naomi turns and takes off again after her fluffy white friend---a game of tag where Maggie is always it.

We read books and sing about spiders crawling up spouts and monkeys jumping on beds.

Naomi took food from the spoon in my hand. She picked the beans out of succotash from her tray. The corn gathered in her lap escaping her tiny grasp.

Soon she won’t have a bottle though she got a couple during the day. A sippy with apple juice occupied her for a few minutes after her nap.

The schedule that was her life just a few months ago is thrown to the side. Life is about moving from one thing to the next with no hesitation.

I leave her sight for a moment and she comes looking for me, whines a little and reaches up. As independent as she is, as she moves around my house, she needs me. She knows it and I know it.

I pick her up. She kisses mouth wide open. Spinning around in joy, I thank God for this child and we dance. I acknowledge the moment as a gift.

Jesus made clear that only those who become like little children would enter the kingdom of heaven.

I pray am like Naomi---that I don’t sit on a pallet playing with toys when there is world to explore.

I can't remember the last time I was trapped under the table. But more than once, I have gotten myself into dead end places where I got stuck, needed help to get out. My Savior came and pulled me out to chase after wonders.

The God of the Universe sings over me. Sometimes I need the filling of a spoon feeding. Other times, He puts food out for me the pick up for myself. He offers it up and sometimes I take it in, some falls away. I miss the mark.

I am never out of His sight. When I whine wondering, reaching up, I am lifted. We spin around rejoice. And practice for the big dance that is coming.

"What's next, Father?" May my heart be like this child I have watched all day. Let me move there with no hesitation.

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me.   (Matthew 18:2-5 MSG)

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