All my life I’ve been set, by my self and those around me, with the ongoing task of growing up, growing older. The larger culture beckons me to grow up while placing Youthfulness and staying young on the altar; asking for my allegiance, my worship. Quite the paradoxical existence and a crazy making formula if ever there was one.
Maybe it’s not so much a Wrong as it is a Truth askew? After all, most of the lies that dictate a life are not opposites, but slight bendings of the Real; just enough to convince us to drink it down day in and out with the morning coffee. What if there is something to this growing up while growing young?
Consistently, when I am quiet enough to hear the Truth, he says, “Be like a child, trust like a child, engage life like a child, like my child.” What kind of child? Not an orphan, or homeless street kid; nor as some brat throwing fits and never satisfied. To be like a child who knows he is loved just because he does.
And I tend to follow that up with my question, “yeah, but what does that look like in the day-to-day?”
I think it looks something like how Buechner poses it at the beginning of his memoir,”The Sacred Journey”:
“What child, while summer is happening, bothers to think much that summer will end? What child, when snow is on the ground, stops to remember that not long ago the ground was snowless? It is by its content rather than its duration that a child knows time, by its quality rather than its quantity…”
To be present enough to appreciate the quality of the people, the happenings, the things right before me instead of checking my wrist or cell phone or ToDo list, or Facebook or Twitter, or BBC.com, etc. To enjoy the sun in September in the green grass regardless of the heat, because there will be days a plenty covered in snow and cold and scarfs and watching a breath in the morning light. It’s this and so much more.
It is knowing time by its quality and content instead of its surplus or scarcity. And only a child can be present enough to do that. It takes a certain kind of grownup, though, too… one that learns that growing up is about growing young.