[Every year, around my birthday, I reflect on who I am, where I've come from, and where I'm going, and then I pour out my heart in this blog. This year is no different.]
Can you remember when you were six? Some people can, especially if they are still six, but my memory slips in and out and I can only remember bits and phrases. One piece goes like this:
My fathers friend, who was also my friend, died when I was rather young, and I remember going to the funeral. This man was a friend to many, and he brought happiness into many people’s lives, so there were many people there, and lots of them were crying.
I didn’t cry then.
As far back as my memory goes, I don’t recall ever being a person who cries easily. I felt pain, I was incredibly sad many times, but I’ve always been good at putting away my sadness, hiding my sorrow behind a stone wall. A barricade to keep people out.
“Good fences make good neighbors”
Only a short number of years ago, I met someone who I thought for sure I would marry “a promise in time, shadows of memories…” When that relationship didn’t work out, I was overcome with grief, but I did not cry much. I was silent for days, my heart was heavy in me while a called out to God, “save me or I perish”, but I did not weep.
Do you remember when you were six? Do you remember what made you cry then?
When I was younger, probably ten or twelve, I was learning math (Algebra) and it was so difficult that it made me cry. But even at that age I could see the golden treasure behind the veil, and I persevered, and now (years later) I’m wrapping up a degree in engineering.
But I didn’t want to talk about “perseverance”, I wanted to say that I wasn’t six then, I was much older.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)
Why does Jesus say this, that the kingdom of God “belongs to such as these”?
When I was six years old, I hardly knew how to read, if I recall correctly. The world was becoming a strange and dark place to me, I was becoming aware of what pain was, of why people cry, of right and wrong, of love, and of death.
A child hears everything you say, and is thinking about it more than you realize. Parents know this when the thing they said several days ago comes out of the mouth of their five year old, sometimes with comedic results.
I recently watched a movie where a young child is told that the sun is going to get bigger and bigger, eventually burning up the earth and the entire solar system, and it didn’t matter to the child that it would be billions of years down the road. What mattered is that, quite suddenly, the child realized a bigger truth, that everything and everyone around you will someday die.
Probably by now you are wondering what this is all about, because it sure seems like I’m going somewhere. And you are right, but I don’t think I can summarize in a nice simple paragraph.
You see, some things can’t be summarized into bumper-sticker slogans, or nice paragraph summaries. Some things in life are so deep, and so meaningful that to even try to put it in words seems to trivialize the very thing you are trying to say. But I will try to say it here:
The love of God is greater than tongue or pen can tell. If I were to fill the ocean with ink, and write all that ink onto paper, describing the love of God, I would drain the ocean dry and still be on the first chapter.