What (many of us) grown-ups have forgotten

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I sit with the friend who most intentionally helps me listen for God’s voice in my life and confess that lately I’ve been coming up against the hard truth that every single thing I’d like to be able to think about myself is not true, not the way I’d like it to be. I’d like to think of myself as disciplined, but the chocolate in the kitchen drawer could tell another story. I’d like to describe myself as gentle, but then I hear the harsh voice in my head berating me again.

She listens and questions and shares how she’s been back in the story of the little boy’s lunch again and has been realizing, That little boy probably had no idea that what he was offering was utterly inadequate. He’d simply overheard the adults asking if anyone had any food. “Here, you can have mine,” he’d said.

I picture Jesus smiling at him as he accepts from the boy’s hands the five little rolls of bread, a bit crumbly and squished, and the two small fish that have been sitting all day in the hot sun. Jesus smiles at the boy and winks, the two of them sharing a secret. The little boy smiles and winks back. He doesn’t yet know the whole secret and he might not be able to put into words the part that he does know, but somewhere deep down his heart knows the truth that the worried grown-ups have forgotten: Placed in the hands of Jesus, what I have to offer is enough for whatever Jesus wants to do with it. 

Babies hold out soggy cheerios in their newly-mastered pincer grip and toddlers extend dandelion bouquets in chubby fists with full confidence that their offering will bring delight. Only grown-ups are ashamed of their gifts.

Little children seem to know something else we adults have forgotten: It’s not really about the gift at all. It’s about the relationship. The children are offering their love, their trust, themselves, to someone who loves them. What could be not to love about that?

Jesus isn’t critiquing our soggy cheerios; he’s savoring our love and our trust.

Here, you can have me, I say to Jesus, watching him smile and open his arms to receive the gift. I can’t keep myself from smiling back.

And so during August I’m setting aside (as best I can) the part of me that thinks I always have to do more to make my gift acceptable. I’m stepping back from blogging and other writing so I can be fully present to Jesus and family and friends, giving myself rather than what I produce and polish. And while some critical adult voice in my head says, “I can’t believe you’re going to write that,” the little girl part of me that is smiling at Jesus smiling at me shrugs and takes Jesus’ hand and skips off, borrowing my parting words from Lynn Ungar’s poem, “Camas Lilies”:

                                         “. . . Gone

to the fields to be lovely. Be back

when I’m through with blooming.”  

9 thoughts on “What (many of us) grown-ups have forgotten

  1. haha! Awesome! Love the poem at the end!!!

  2. Can’t wait to see the blossom that grows in August.

  3. melissa says:

    oh, i love the photo, the story, the message, and the poem! Thanks for sharing and for being you!!!!

  4. Esther Hizsa says:

    Lovely. Just what I needed to hear today. Be blessed blooming.

  5. Pam says:

    “Placed in the hands of Jesus, whatever I have to offer is enough for whatever Jesus wants to do with it.”
    I love that!
    You bless me every time i read ypur blog!
    ENJOY your tme away! I will look forward to your return!

  6. Dianne Hor e says:

    So appreciate your comments. Enjoy your time away..blooming with His infectious love.
    Dianne Horne

  7. Pamela says:

    What a wonderful way to view our gift of ourselves to God! Your writing always blesses me so much. Enjoy your time off. Can’t wait to see what you come back with!

  8. Tricia says:

    This is one of my favourite posts.

    Are we ever through with blooming though? You don’t have to answer that…

    Bloom, baby, bloom!

  9. Jean Hawkins says:

    I love this Carolyn! As always…just what I need to hear too! I will pray for you to see this happen as you continue to bloom this month! I know it will be a wonderful blessing for you and also for all those who are with you…just like your word picture blessings are multiplied all around.

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