Some friends from Anchorage came over yesterday and brought their two children, ages six and eight, to celebrate the Fourth of July. We built a fire on the beach from sticks and birch bark and roasted hotdogs. We played with our own fireworks then walked farther down the beach to enjoy the day with some others.
This morning I’m thinking how much life resembles children. No really, just think about it. Life has to be vigilantly watched, carefully managed, it tires you out. Just when you think you can sit down for a few minutes, something springs up in your face and, though you long to say, “Not now, please”, it won’t wait until you’re rested and ready.
It demands you! It wants you to carry its backpack and you know you have to, because the things in that pack are the very things that will give you peace later.
When you want to just relax and enjoy the beauty of the fireworks, life has to go to the bathroom. You know what I mean.
Life, like children, (if you want to do it right) cannot be turned over to someone else. You have to stay right there in it, moment by moment, accepting what it brings, trying to stay patient, always making decisions that are mostly small but sometimes very BIG. You have to learn to differentiate or you’ll go crazy.
Life tugs at your shirt when you’re trying to talk to your friends or do something with your hands. If you try to put it off, it will grow more persistent until you stop in your tracks and tend to it. If you’re gentle, it will smile at you. If you’re harsh, you can count on drama.
When you turn your back for one second, life goes through your things and starts asking questions you’d rather not answer. You wish you had hidden your valuables more carefully. Next time you’ll be ready for it (right!). It notices little things that others overlook and draws attention to itself with YOUR stuff. Don’t you hate that!
So what to do when life is dragging you along too quickly and you’d like to stop and regroup but you can’t. You remember that children, in all their annoying, exhausting glory, fill your heart so full that it overflows. Nurturing is tough, but oh, so worth the trouble. When they grab your hand and snuggle close, when they give you the beautiful pebble they found on the beach, when they plant a sloppy kiss on your cheek out of nowhere, when they take the wings you fastened on them and find the courage to jump and flap for all they’re worth (and NO, we really DID NOT do this to the children yesterday), when love blooms…….then you know that it all makes sense, it’s all part of the cycle God created for you.
My own children grew up, but they will always be growing still. Same with my sweet life.