Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Children with Questions -- Hope Chronicles 15

A little elf of a five-year-old came up to the counter tonight as I was cashiering at the bookstore. I love kids. I love talking to them and can often readily converse on some of their favorite things. Since it is Feb., things have slowed down. There is more of a chance to have a brief conversation than there was with the franticness of serving customers during the Christmas season.

I appropriately "ahhed" over the Dora the Explorer book and the princess book she came up with and asked how old she was . . . .

I must have put her at ease because she decided that she could ask me questions as well. "Where's your mommy?"

"Well, I don't have a mommy anymore." I could see the wheels in her head turning.

"Where are your kids?"

A bit of a gulp on my part. "I don't have any kids -- yet."

"Where's the other people?" she persisted.

"The other people?"

"You gotta live with people."

I checked for more customers, but there was no one in line. "No, I don't live with anyone. I'm a grownup and sometimes grownups live by themselves." This was obviously a new concept.

"You don't got nobody?"

Well, I didn't know how deep this conversation was going to go. Her mother was writing a check and didn't seem inclined to save me, so I decided to go with diversion. "Would you like a sticker?" She started to ask another question and I said, "How about another?"

I have spent a lot of time with children and had more than my share (considering I don't have kids) of the awkward questions ranging from manners, to bodily functions, to death, and even dating and sex. I try to be a safe person and answer as simply and straightfoward as I can (and fill in the parents or care givers regarding my answers . . . .) But I recognized this innocent conversation as one that has the potential to really trip me up. It hits me in the areas I experience the most longing in: day to day connection, family, and marriage and kids.

The little girl's perspective makes total sense to me. She lives in a world where mom and dad are the world. Children are typically egocentric (the world revolves around me). Actually, adults are egocentric too, but we have learned to mask it better! Her life is one of being a daughter (hence the mother question). The closest people to her are parents; thus, I got the children question. My guess is that she also has brothers or sisters, so how could anyone live alone?

Though I am an adult, I think I also define myself in terms of relationships. So, in the absence of the most key relationships (a rocky family of origin, the death of my mother, no husband, no kids) I can sometimes find myself floundering. Who am I in a world that defines us in relation to another or to a role?

Since it was slow tonight, I had a chance to ponder this. Yes, those relationships are ones that are key in the lives of many, possibly most, people. But the more than being key, being crucial, is my relationship to Jesus. It is He who loves me now and through eternity. It is God who is a father to the fatherless and the defender of widows (and singles) and orphans. It is Jesus who is ultimately my bridegroom. In each of these things and the daily blessings of friends and a half dozen kids I can love on and give back to their parents when they are tired or cranky, there is hope. My hope is in Jesus.

CS Lewis writes the following in Mere Christianity:

"If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and help others do the same."

The things I too often look to, a husband and kids and all of that, cannot satisfy my deepest longing. CS Lewis is right in that. While these things might be blessings and things I desire, they are not the be all-end all. No, that would be Jesus. The beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. I have hope because of who I am in relation to Jesus.


Heather@Mommymonk said...

I love this quote by Lewis - the things and people who we think will satisfy on this earth are only meant to heighten our thirst for HIM.

Missy said...

Very well said. Thanks.

Missy said...

Very well said. Thanks.

Lisa said...

I loved this post and how honestly you opened up your heart and shared with us. What you are feeling is something so many women are feeling in using earthly relationships to define us or give us significance. I have a close friend who has never been married and has no children (she was in the delivery room with my husband and me for the birth of my daughter, in fact), and she talks to me alot about this. You wrote exactly what she is feeling on a daily basis.

I'm moved by this post, and I respect you for seeing the truth despite your earthly longings. And it's reminder to me, as a married woman with children, to focus on the relationship that my life is supposed to be all about.

Thanks, Amy!
Lisa :)

Lelia Chealey said...

Amy~This is something I wrote for my sister who is single and longs for all the things that little girl asks you about.I love what you wrote. Hope this speaks to you...I've inserted your name & email me if you want in Word format. love ya,Lelia

My Dear Bride Amy,
I think of you so often. I see you when you’re having feelings of loneliness and I long to hold you. I love when you
choose to cry out to me because I want to be the one that you intensely cry out to. I need all of you, Amy. Please trust
that I have wonderful plans for you. I‘ve begun a good work in you and you need to allow me to complete it. Please let me
have all of your heart. The plans you have for your life don’t even compare to what I have in store for you, but I need you to cooperate with me completely. I need you to surrender and endure the hardships that lie ahead of you. I never said
following me would be easy, but know that I will make your journey so worth it. I have a Promised Land that I want to
take you to. Land you’ve never set foot on before. To get there you need to follow me. Trust me. Need me. Call out to me. Come
to me. Chase me. Abide in me. Wait with me. Wait until I am ready to give you all that I have for you. See I have to be able to trust you with what I have for you. I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me so you be diligent and pursue me with all of your heart. I need your walk and talk to match up. I need your
thoughts, words and actions to glorify me. I need you Amy for Kingdom gain. Will you learn to be content with having Me
as your husband, your groom, your everything? Let Me be the love
of your life for I love you so much. You can do nothing to make Me
turn my back on you. I just love everything about you Amy, for I, your King am enthralled by your beauty.
Jesus your Groom
©2006 Lelia Chealey