I was visiting a friend one morning over the holidays, when her 5-year-old came running into the living room shouting, “Mommy, Mommy, the Big Truck! It’s the BIG TRUCK!!” We heard the roaring sound of a large truck coming down the street. Ella ran back to the window to look. “Mommy, it got our trash!”
My friend laughed, “She just gets so excited about everything! It could be a bug in the back yard or the garbage truck. She even helps gather the trash the night before, because she wants to be sure it stops at our house!”
Being around a small child can be like getting a PhD in exuberance! Gordon Hempton, author of “Silence: the Presence of Everything,” says there’s no greater “wise one” to follow around than a young child, especially if you’re seeking to be connected to the sacred presence of God and mystery. “You can’t get more than a few feet before a little one reminds you of the wisdom and wonder present per square inch of life.”
“Ask the animals what they think — let them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earth — learn the basics. Listen — they will tell you stories of the sacred in our midst.” (Job 12: 7-8)
Life is full of ups and downs and ins and outs; but we are reminded that we live and move and have our very being in the heart of God. Certainly this is the message of the season of Epiphany, that a child is born whose name is Emmanuel, God with Us. In this season of Epiphany, which started January 6, we remember the Magi in their discovery of the Christ child and their journey home “by another way” so as to avoid having to return to Caesar who wishes to find and kill this child of wonder and hope.
Seems like there’s a lot of “Caesar” in life in general — a lot of obstacles and pain and sorrow and death and anger and on and on that seeks to find the wonder we used to know and squelch it. In other words, there’s plenty of meanness out there in the world.
But hang out with a child awhile and you just might find that wonder and joy and exuberance is still here. Bend down with a toddler and put your ear to the ground and you just might hear some stories. Reach out to someone with open arms and you’re gonna feel that warm embrace we all remember from childhoods past. Life is filled with lessons for the living. God is telling stories.
This Sunday, in eleven:eleven, I’m continuing my Epiphany series:
Life is Like That — 7 Lessons for the Living
“god is telling stories”
Special music with Brad Thompson and eleven:eleven revolution
and guest guitarist/vocalist, Adrian Garza!
See you then!