Light-up shoes flashed as he ran, unabated by the atmosphere of the adults taking part in the discussion around him. He giggled as he played with a ball he had found, the wings of the bumblebee costume he insisted on wearing flapping with each step he took. Both the shoes and the wings garnered some attention, eliciting smiles from the adults who were listening. The little toddler had the wiggles and needed to get them out.
That was the scene that played out in the Bible study I attended this morning.
It of course made me grin, since his joyous boisterousness was juxtaposed with the adults who were trying their best to listen and discuss a topic of study. And guess what, no one was bothered by it. It wasn’t against the grain, though in reality it was. It was just a toddler doing his regular routine in a church that embraces this as part of the flow.
“The child is aware of unlimited potential, and this munificence is one of the joys of creativity.”~ Madeleine L’Engle “Walking on Water”
I often wish I had the same kind of unabashed confidence of a child. Their level of innocence allows them to not be jaded by life and their imagination abounds in ways I cannot begin to fathom. They often believe in themselves in a way most adults cannot even begin to understand. They believe in the higher power of love and have a faith that allows them to be who they are, unabashedly bold and confident. They have a trust in others that multiplies as their confidence soars.
As I sat in church this morning listening to the sermon on “what shackles us”, I looked around. I made a concerted effort to watch the handful of parishioners that had children, albeit briefly. Some of the children that attended colored on plain paper sprawled across the pews next to their parents. Others played with the crafts they made in their own Bible study this morning or with the toys they brought from home. The little bee from Sunday school had “flown away” with his dad, having needed to go out of the sanctuary and move a bit. All of them made me smile. None of them were self-conscious of the fact that the “normal” reaction was to sit and listen. They all were moving and doing what they needed to do, believing in their own way and having faith in themselves as well as in the higher power. They were “fitting-in” to the service in their own best way. They were not chained to the idea that worship meant being quiet and silent. They were living their worship in whatever form they saw fit. They believed in themselves to have enough faith to do as they needed to do.
They say that I can move the mountains…..And send them falling to the sea…. They say that I can walk on water….. If I would follow and believe….. With faith like a child.”~ Jars of Clay “Like a Child”
As we age, we adults seem to lose that kind of faith, especially in ourselves. We learn, from worries and traumas, addictions and history to find a way to fit in. We learn that marching to the beat of our own drum is something eccentric and weird. We lose our sense of belief; belief in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy, belief in the greater good, even a belief in whatever higher and greater powers, even if it has nothing to do with religion.
“I don’t care what you believe. Just believe in it.”~ Shepherd Book, played by Ron Glass, in the movie “Serenity”
But what if we were to find that faith we had in a child? What if we learned to believe in things again? What if we lost the jadedness we have and embraced the imaginative creativity and trust we had as children? Can you imagine what we could accomplish in the world? Can you imagine the magic that could be made? The stories of life that could be written?
Keep writing those stories. Stay magical. Believe.
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