To Be a Child
God allowed me to see Him through the eyes of a child on a delayed flight home to Ohio from North Carolina.
It was already a late flight without the delay. The plane was scheduled to leave at 9:10pm, but because of the delay we left close to 11:00pm. My original seat was near the back of the plane. But, prior boarding the plane the concierge changed my seat closer to the front. This seating change put me directly across from a mother with a hyper four year old girl who was not sleepy!
I had thoughts of sleeping for the next hour and a half. With my headphones in my ears and my jacket hood pulled over my head, all I had to do was close my eyes. Yet, those thoughts were soon put on pause when I heard the excited little voice of the little girl:
“When are we going to leave Mommy!”
“This is fun! We are going to go fast!”
“When are we going home?
Will Daddy be there to pick us up?”
“Let’s count Mommy, 1, 2, 3…”
My first thought was, “Please go to sleep!” But I listened more intently as her little voice permeated the atmosphere. This four year little girl was beyond excited; she was in total awe!
Uh oh, we are moving! The plane is moving Mommy!”
"Ooh, Mommy, look outside!” Do you see the stars Mommy?'
"(Giggling), That's funny Mommy!"
“It's dark Mommy, can the plane see where its’ going?”
“I can’t wait to get home and see Daddy!”
Like any four year old child, the little girl was inquisitive. She had questions about any and everything. I listened as her mother answered her questions, and instead of telling her to sit down and be quiet. Her mother allowed her to be in the moment.
How often do we miss being in the moment as adults? It’s something about becoming adults that causes us to miss embracing life as a child. In our rush to show "we're grown," and live independently of our parents, we leave the nest ready to fly and take on the world! As we take care of various responsibilities day to day, our view of life on the ground becomes jaded. We soon find out that being grown, or “Adulting” (as Millennials call it), isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
We are no longer excited about the little things. We are no longer curious about the journey because of the dead ends we have run into. We are no longer inquisitive. Instead we turn into cynical “know it alls”, because of course we’ve been there before! We've done that already! All the while wishing and sometimes saying, “I wish I was a child again.”
As I listened to the little girl, I recognized she had complete trust in what was going on around her. She trusted that the plane was going to get her to her destination. She trusted that the pilot knew how to operate the plane. She trusted that her Mommy was near and knew the answers to her questions. She trusted that her Daddy was going to be at the airport, waiting for her when she gets off the plane. This trust allowed her to approach life with fun, excitement and curiosity. She didn’t have any worries because she had complete trust.
I believe this is how God wants His children to approach life – with fun, excitement and curiosity. God gives us the freedom to ask our questions and listen for the answers. He wants our complete trust, no matter where we are, where we’re going and where we may find ourselves. God is with us. He wants us to experience life as this little child - open handedly with an open mind and open heart.
As we neared our destination, I smiled to myself and began to praise God! Thank you LORD for allowing me to witness this little girl who had nothing but happiness and joy in her heart! While others on the flight wished the little girl would settle down and fall asleep, I am thankful that she pushed past any signs of tiredness to teach me a greater lesson: Enjoy the ride!
Although we can’t physically be four years old as we age, we can approach life as this four year old little girl. We can do this by coming to God as a child. Each day wake up and expect God to do what He promises because He is Abba, “Daddy.” Look at each experience wide eyed, with a smile, trusting that He will answer our questions. Hold his hand and trust that we will arrive at our destination because Daddy knows the way. Rest in his loving arms when tired, scared, fretful or simply because you want to be held, knowing that He won’t let you go!
Once we landed, she was still full of energy.
“Ugh Mommy, something smells!”
“When can we leave our seats?”
“Can I take my seat belt off?”
“Are we landing? Are we going to see Daddy?”
Once the seat belt was off, the little girl stood up and came into the aisle, conversing with anyone she made eye contact with - including me. Finally allowed to get off the plane, the little girl hurried to meet her Daddy. I went to baggage claim to retrieve my bag and went outside to see my family. My heart swelled with emotion and eyes welled up with tears when I saw the little girl run into the arms of her Daddy, who was waiting to receive her. She ran right into his arms and he scooped her up as if he had been waiting just as eagerly to see her as she was him.
God has a way of giving us gentle reminders of just how much he loves us. He is waiting with open arms for us to run to him and tell him about our day. He wants to hear all about our adventures on the plane, on the job, at home, at church - no matter our station in life. He used a delayed plane ride and a four year old little girl to prove that He welcomes children of all ages. For this I say, "Thank you LORD!"
And Thank you Alex for doing what four year olds do - imagine vividly, talk loudly, laugh heartily and trust completely. Thank you for being a child!
Matthew 18:2-5, He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest is the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.