Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Do 6 to 8 Year Olds Know, That I Forget?

When I grow up, I want to be a kid. Somewhere between 6 and 8 will do. I could spend my weekends in a princess costume (without causing the neighbors to talk), or summers pool-side perfecting my cannonball, not to mention the joy of VBS and skipping to class holding hands with my BFF. I think the ripe old age of 6 to 8 is when a person knows all he/she needs to know to be happy and well-adjusted. In fact, it is all downhill in my opinion much later than eight. Six to eight-year-olds are so much cooler than your average adult. At 6 to 8, I had never carried a sweater around just in case it was cold in the movie; I had never looked forward to ‘soup weather’; and I could not understand why parents would sit in a chair when you could lay down on the comfy floor instead.
If I grew to only 6 to 8, I could tie my shoes, and learn to read. But, I would like to stop growing up before Santa becomes just a nice idea, or I believe someone when they tell me I can’t______ – whatever it is. Yes, I would like to stop growing up before I let others' opinions darken my soul. Wouldn’t you? Would you like to go back to the day before you starting apologizing for yourself and your lack of self at every turn? The day before you became aware of every imperfection and forgot about how awesome you were just the day before. That would be just cool beans- I think my eight-year-old self might say cool beans. I mean let me show you my new yo-yo trick or look how fast I can count backward from 100. You need someone to read out loud? I might stumble over the big words, but I’m your girl!
How many times have you put on your favorite dress, and instead of feeling pretty and smart, you thought about how you will measure up to the world that day? I have, too many times. I am also in the habit of lying. I say things like, “I don’t always look like this,” or “My house is not always this messy.” Why do I say things like that? What I should really say is, “You have caught me in my usual clothes, looking about as good as I usually do, in my house which is usually just about this messy; I always love to see you, but I would rather you told me you were coming so that I could have stressed myself for hours working on my looks and my mess to make you think I am something better than this. “
And, I often don’t feel like I am the one for the job, regardless of my ability. I can usually think of another who can do it better than me even though I would do just fine. It cheats me out of joy and cheats others out of my service, and I need to be no more the eight again.
An eight-year-old would find me silly.
I was thinking about something that happened several years ago, and it made me think of one of my girls who at the time was about 6 to 8. We were on our way home from an out-of-town-family-thing, coming home ragged and dirty and tired.  And, someone called unaware of our weary state and wondered if we could rescue a young couple who had no place to stay for the night. I immediately thought of a dozen reasons why I was not up for the challenge. The house was a wreck when we left, we had no food, I didn’t know if I had clean sheets to make up a guest bed, my mind went on…but then it stopped when my daughter, who had overheard, offered her room to the couple, her twin bed with pink polka dotted sheets and Polly Pockets on the floor, ‘They can stay in my room. ‘ I knew the Holy Spirit was calling me out at that moment, and I was ashamed. Of course, they can stay at our house for the night.  They met us at our house in their ragged car, and they were tired and dirty. I manage to say hello and show them inside without apologizing for my home or its messy appearance. I realized at that moment what I should have known without our unexpected guests; it was a perfect refuge, and it was all that was needed at that moment. And, I was completely up to the task at hand. In fact if you need to be rescued, I might not be as good as I was at 6 to 8, but I am your girl!