Being a kid. Wow, now that’s something you can look back on and grow misty-eyed over. All those magical moments where plain old mud turned into pies, dull garden hoses transformed into jungle anacondas and boring old staircases morphed into death-defying roller coasters. From the moment our eyes struggled open in till the time we tucked ourselves in at night, our minds chugged out an endless, ceaseless ocean of…well, whatever it is we wanted to be in wherever place we wanted to be in.
As kids, we not only had pretty active imaginations but also the gift to look at the world with beautiful hope, marvelous wonder and radiant awe. We looked up to our parents in joyful expectation that they would come home bearing small gifts and even if they didn’t, that they would open their arms wide and we could run up to them for loving hugs and a comforting kiss. We threw ourselves out of bed in sheer excitement to greet the morning sun and the endless possibilities it held heavy in its hands.
We spent the day lost with our crayons and our collections, knee-deep in make-believe and swimming in a world where we knew little more than sailing paper boats down lazy streams, jumping into puddles and climbing up trees.
Being kids meant that we never had to worry because we had parents who looked after us, in every possible way. And though they made us do things that we would rather not do (like brush our teeth or take a bath or go to bed way too early), and we struggled and fought back the best we could, in the end, we gave in because in the back of our heads we knew that they knew better than us and that someday, we would even thank them for it.
It’s no surprise then that when adulthood started to creep up on us, first through tiny little cracks then in heavier torrents—-thicker books to read, tougher teachers to please, more rules to follow—-that our little “Kids Only” clubhouse made up of comics and candy began to crumble. A few more years into adulthood and we are exposed to late night news, smelly night pubs and blood on the streets. “Welcome to the real world”, a popular slogan was stamped firmly into our heads, making clear the delineation between childhood and adulthood.
No time for wonder and make-believe here, the man with the menacing grin cackles. It’s either you hustle or you’re out. And you can’t run to your mama or papa, either. You are an adult now.
Many of us try to resist the system. We don’t want to be incorporated into the massive, droning machinery of dull and soulless capitalism so we tried to break away, find our own paths and rebel. Sooner or later though, we find out that the system catches up with you. With bills to pay and mouths to feed, no one can run for too far or for too long.
Faced with the sad, appalling reality of “growing up”, we turn to escapism. It comes in different forms. For some people, it is music. For some it is TV. For some, it is alcohol. For some, it is art. For others, it is the Internet. For some yet, it is sports. For others yet, it is drugs.
It’s different for everyone and some are obviously better than the others but the reason for getting into these “hobbies” is one and the same—-we all want (or need) that one thing that can help us feel like a child again.
It is these activities that allow us to get lost in our own worlds without being bothered by deadlines, bills and serious adults with serious agendas. These things become our playtime. And here is where the truth is unveiled: that are all, and always will be, kids at heart. We may not be aware of it but every tiny part of us is aching to be that worry-free child that digs holes, chases puppies and builds tree houses once again.
All of us, every single one of us, long to have someone take care of us while we play to our hearts’ content. Even in our adult lives, we want someone to wake us up for a nice breakfast and tuck us in at night when it is especially dark and we are feeling unsure of ourselves.
Though we are all grown-up and wear heels and suits and travel business class to far-off countries alone, we still seek the smell of a home-cooked meal and the warmth of a loving embrace. We long for the touch of someone brushing our hair and whispering in our ears that “It will be all alright.”
Though we tell ourselves that we are living in the “real world” now, there is still a part of us that is a child longing to play all day in the mud with parents to clean up after our wounds and make the pain go away with an embrace.
We may tell ourselves that we are adults now with important things to do like meeting goals, acquiring property and hitting targets but why is it that deep down in the heart of your hearts, you know that something is missing? That even with all the trophies and merits and promotions that you amass, there is something not quite right?
Do you know that even when you put on your serious “adult” shoes and talk about your sensible “adult” plans, every time you sit down to watch your favorite show or create art or write poems or listen to music or play your favorite game, or talk to your most cherished of friends, your eyes give you away?
You start shouting like a child, moving like a child and suddenly you have no care in the world because for that one moment, you have become a child again.
And there is nothing you want to do more than prolong that moment, don’t you? If you could just play one more note, stay out for one more minute, read one more chapter or draw one more detail….but you can’t. “Real life” calls out to you every time.
Do you know that it breaks God’s heart to see you face life with a heavy heart, going through the motions just to get the day through, collect your paycheck and go home?
What if He meant life to be more than just sitting in a cubicle, feeling trapped and uninspired, and counting down the hours till you can get home and see your friends or lie down in bed and dream of the things you dream of doing so that you can feel like a child again?
What if “real life” and “adulthood” were lies and that we were meant to live a life full of wonder, joy and enchantment, doing the things we truly love doing, with someone taking care of all our needs, at all times, so that we did not need to worry—–just like a child?
Well, guess what?
That is the life God intends for you.
He is your Father and you are His child.
You inherited wonderful gifts and talents from Him and He wants you to use them.
He wants you to enjoy each and every day of your life.
He created this beautiful world where you can play in, learn in, create in, imagine stuff in, go on adventures in, discover great things in, and be who we truly are in.
He intends for us to live a life doing what we love to do so that we no longer need to “escape” in order to feel joy.
That is the joy and the privilege of being of God’s sons and daughters.
God never meant for us to lose the gifts of beautiful hope, marvelous wonder and radiant awe in our lives. He never turned His back on us as a Father. He wants nothing more than to give us gifts and surprises to make us smile. He never stopped offering us His open arms every time we need comfort from the pain and love to get us through the day. He still creates days that hold an abundance of endless possibilities.
He wants us to continue playing to our heart’s content while He takes care of our every need. In fact, nothing would please Him more than to see His children full of wondrous joy in the planet He created for us.
Nothing has changed, except us.
Sometime, somewhere along the way, we stopped losing our sense of wonder, we forgot how it was to imagine, we turned our backs on our natural talents and gifts, and we stopped talking to our Father.
We began to “grow up”.
And for what?
A high-paying job that stresses you out.
Expensive education for your kids that you hardly see.
Acceptance from society, the very same people that you don’t actually like.
An expensive car, a beautiful home, the latest gadgets, and every other material thing that you know won’t make you happy.
It is not too late for you to live the life God intends for you to have. It is not too late to become His beloved child again.
He is just waiting to hear from you. He longs to talk to you. Like all parents, our Father can’t wait to throw His arms around you and take care of you.
Don’t you think it’s time you came home?