Recalibrating Vision: How My Little Kingdom Dwellers are Helping Me to See

Naomi called this morning on FaceTime. I was happy to see her face after I slid my finger across the screen to take the call. The image was a bit fuzzy from a poor connection, but I could see her curly blond hair was wild like it is most of the time. The gap in her front teeth is starting to fill as the new permanent ones sink into place. It didn’t happen overnight, but I hadn’t noticed until I saw it on the screen. After the customary greetings, she pointed the camera at a piece of yellow construction paper where there were words and a drawing I couldn’t make out. She explained her motivation for calling. 



The paper I was trying to make sense of was evidence of new “habits” she is building into her life to cultivate her passion for drawing and for a newly discovered love for writing poetry. Her inspirations this morning were daffodils because it is spring and also because her mother loves them. She said she wrote down lots of things that are yellow on the paper— things like the sun and bananas. These will find their way into an expression of art in words or by crayon. It seems this morning she was mid-stride in her habit-forming ways, still working on her vision. Maybe she was telling me about it as a way of ratifying her intentions with a word of approval from her biggest fan? I hope so.

Naomi handed the phone over to Olivia who observed that the video on the phone showed me big in the frame while she was seeing a small picture of herself. She added that she understood that I was seeing just the opposite—a video of her big image and a small window showing me listening to her. It was true and we wondered why the small selfie window was necessary. We weren’t able to come to any conclusion. I told her I was noticing her freckles. She mentioned they needed to come get the toothbrushes they left when they moved back home last Friday. She breathed at the phone and asked if I’d like to smell her breath. Then, she laughed. I yawned and she yawned. I reminded her how she learned just a few days ago that yawns are contagious.

After the ten-minute conversation ended, I talked to myself. 

“Self,” I said, “Do you know what else is contagious?” I answered out loud into my sun-drenched bedroom: “Joy.”



The girls were living in joy this morning. I sensed joy stirring in me as we chatted via digital signals. I felt this way despite the fact that I was missing their presence in the house on a Monday morning and because there are plenty of other things threatening to keep me from experiencing the fruit that would identify my life with the kingdom of God. Every day for months, the girls have been coming and going every morning while I tried to have my quiet time or worked on my writing. Apparently, four months is long enough that it became routine, a new rhythm. I was feeling the void. I got up out of bed to my new old normal which wasn’t exactly my plan, but that’s what happened. 

Our interaction on the phone reminded me, as the girls often do when I spend time with them, of the creative freedom that children enjoy when they are loved well. The way they live awake to the opportunities of a new day inspires me to notice the world around me—from my own perspective, but also to consider the perspectives of others. They point to colors that I hardly acknowledge now that I have gotten older, especially yellow. They remind me that writing poetry is a privilege to embrace as one made in the image of the Creator, those called to display his splendor in a world who seems to have forgotten him.

God used their little lives, their little voices, and their big ideas to remind me that children being fully human are the people most fully alive to the kingdom of God. Is this not why Jesus was very sober about the fate of those who cause little kingdom dwellers to stumble? (Matt. 18:1-6)



I want to live like my grandchildren. Because I am loved well, I can. There is true freedom that comes with such understanding. How often I forget the greatness of God’s grace and mercy—His love lavished on me every single day.

I could turn to the social feeds, the news, or to books written for humans by humans— grown-up, mature, educated, and informed humans and never find the simple message that came to me from my loves this morning. 

The sun is warming the air after a cold night, winter’s last hurrah. (This is a statement of faith concerning winter because we are all hoping that is the case. Am I right?) The sunshine is wooing me to go soak in his rays. I head down to where the narcissus are blooming in the lot by the pine grove. They are the last of the daffodil varieties to bloom in the spring. I want to see if they felt the same courage I was feeling, the courage to turn their faces to the light, to look up and have a clear vision of their purpose. On the way, I look for anything along my path that is yellow and consider whether or not it is possible to infect a blue bird with a yawn.



Who is/are the child(ren) who help you recalibrate your vision?

Comments

  1. Lovely, Dea. Truly. Children are wonderful teachers -- and sometimes they teach us by being such very good learners!

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    1. What a privilege to see again through the eyes of kids on the journey through the second half! I know you agree. :)

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  2. Those girls are such rays of sunshine. I thought you might feel the void of their absence. Their joy was a new rhythm indeed. This is so good Dea -- the emotion and truth of what you write are tangible. Keep writing.

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    1. Love you, my friend. I plan to keep writing. I've tried to quit and it never works! Ha!

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  3. I am on the lookout at my new church, for some little people who would like an extra grandma, because I don't have grand-children. What a joy yours are to you!
    Loved reading this post. God Bless you Dea, with many more joyous moments with these precious children.

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    1. Oh, Mary, I love how you are always looking for opportunities to bless others! I think whoever those littles are who need a little "extra grandma" will be so blessed to have you in their lives!

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