This is a picture of me and my mother when I was a child. My mother tied a hook to some twine and being born a true fisherman, I passed the time joyfully trying to catch what I thought were fish (they were tadpoles). I had no bait; I had no strategy, and I got no fish; but I also had no other care on earth.
And I think that’s what I miss most about being a child – having no responsibilities; the simplest joys were always exhilarating.
It’s a shame, then, to realize that such an aspect of childhood is not the most treasured of characteristics. Regarding children, Christ compels us: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I have trouble with this passage, but I suppose sitting right next to the millstone-around-the-neck and the cut-off-your-hands-and-eyes passages, it’s rightly fitting to be so. What gets me is not that the child has no concerns or worries; but, more that the child is so willing to submit to an authority that it trusts in, namely Jesus Christ. And, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I have trouble with both of those things – authority and trust.
I long for the past; yet, my desire to return to childhood stems from my wish to run from my responsibilities. Christ, however, tells me that my desire should be to live in the present with a child’s humble heart that chooses to submit. All circumstances aside, the child’s humble heart is not a stupid heart – it is merely a heart that has the capacity to trust. What an incredibly difficult posture!