Walking with the Ultimate Parent
Today, I went walking with my three year old daughter. We went to the city park, which is just a few minutes walk from where we live.
We followed a less trodden dirt path with no idea where it was leading. The ground was a bit mushy from yesterday's rain, but we continued on that path for I know it'd do us some good to go on some tiny bit of adventure even if it's just in walking. So it was with much excitement that I welcomed the idea of going into a forest when we entered some sort of wooded area. It was dark and the scent of musk permeates the air. As we walked under the trees, I barely noticed the muddy ground where we were walking and my now-very-dirty sneakers. I had my senses on the green, lofty, sun-dappled trees swaying in the breeze. I could even see glistening cystal-like dewdrops on some of the leaves. It was so enchanting and I was highly fascinated. I couldn't keep my eyes off from what was around me.
Then, there was a whine.
I assured her that I will clean them up when we get home, then, urged her to continue walking. She was obviously bothered by all that mud that she kept her eyes on the ground, until we got to a clearing with a path made of concrete.
Just wanna have fun!
We followed that paved pathway. It led us to a kid's heart candy--- an amusement park with so many rides. There it was in all its attractive colors and loud, merry sounds, with promises of excitement, pleasure and fun. I didn't expect to see so much amusement rides in such a place, especially having just gone through a very deserted woods. My daughter was really excited. We walked around looking at every ride we could see. Until...
It was time to go home. When my daughter realized that we were walking away from all that fun, she got desperate. She pulled my hand and told me to go back to the amusement park. I asked her if she was hungry. "No," was the answer. It was lunch time. I explained that her brother was waiting at home for us. She shook her head. I told her I was hungry, too, and food is waiting for us. She just started to panic. My explanation might as well have been an algebra lecture from all the lack of understanding that I got from her. She had her mind only on the fun, the pleasure, the excitement.
I gave her a choice--- to stay or go home with me. She still wanted to stay. But after awhile she followed me home, whining all the way. I could see that she was tired, so I asked if I can carry her, and she nodded her assent. I picked her up and she immediately found a secure place on my shoulder to put her tiny head on. She wrapped her arms tightly around my neck as we walked on. I felt maternal love rush warmly inside my heart as I held my daughter.
Who loves me?
We walked that way for sometime, until I broke the silence. "Who loves Ella?" I asked.
She replied, "Me."
I shook my head. "Mama loves Ella."
"No! Me!" she responded stubbornly. She seemed to be so sure that no one could love her the way her little self can.
"Mama loves Ella," I replied back. "And Jesus loves Ella more," I added.
I whispered the song "Jesus Loves Me" in her ear, and before long she was singing the song back to me as we walked the few steps home.
Just a child
I wonder how God's children could be any different from my daughter. Not much, I think. No matter how big or accomplished I think I have grown, I am still just a child. Just as all of us really are, at heart.
Oftentimes in my walk with the Ultimate Parent, when I should be taking delight in the creation that He has made, His gifts and blessings for me; I see instead the mud, the inconveniences and difficulties. I miss luxuriating in the wonder of seeing the sun shining through the trees making the dewdrops glisten and missed to experience the extraordinary moments wrapped in an ordinary day. I get too focused on the dirt on me that I barely hear Him say, "I will wash your sins away. Though they be as scarlet, they'll be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).
Then we get on the paved road--- where the way is smooth and all is fine. Fun was all around. And as any child, I could just as easily let go of my Ultimate Parent's hand to get to all that fun. And when it is time to go home where family, food and love is waiting, I would rather take the pleasure and fun without thought that that is not what I really need. Yes, many of us just want to have fun. No wonder one author wrote that almost all have been "essentially dumbed down... into entertainment... because the crowd's culture demand it" (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death).
When Home is mentioned, we whine and stomp our feet, not thinking that family is waiting, abundance too, and so is love. And as always, the Ultimate Parent gives us what love really can do, He gives us freedom. We have a choice. We can choose to go our own way and get all the fun or follow Him Home and get all the love. We don't need fun. We need love. And deep inside, we know it. So we follow Him home but we whine all the way. Knowing our frailty, He takes us into His arms despite our rotten attitudes, and in His arms we find Home.
He asks, "Who loves you?"
Silly and Stubborn, we answer, "Me." And we insist on it. But even that, Jesus loves us.
He loves us, until we finally understand that nobody else can love us the way He does. And when we do understand that, it doesn't matter that we are still on our way home, for we have found Home.
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