Image by Annie Spratt, courtesy of Unsplash
Do you remember a time when you just existed before the Lord? Maybe it is a place that you remember as a child; some garden or quiet corner of the world; as the adults ‘adulted’ inside: doing their grown-uppy things: drinking tea and laughing about matters that made no sense to you. Did you play with siblings? Make garden swings or bike jumps? Did you swim or skate or read or play make believe with your dolls and fairies?
For me, it was a My Child doll that I think of when I remember ‘just existing’. For those of you old enough to remember My Child’s were the other doll on the market (it was the Cabbage Patch dolls who everyone wanted). But I loved my My Child doll. She had long strawberry blond hair, a white shirt with tiny red cherries on it, bright red shoes and a perfect button nose.
I would brush her hair and change her outfits. I remember her sister, Bridie, a plastic faced blonde doll whose head curled into the nape of your neck at the press of a button. Bridie, in all honesty, had been a disappointment, (I hope my mum isn’t reading!). Her hair was short and curly (no plaits or braids in sight); her hard plastic face stood in contrast to the soft plush fabric of her little nub-fingered hands, and while that face could be wiped clean, I never really loved her the way I loved my red-head doll.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I have a twelve year old daughter. A beautiful red-head with a waist length mane, bright, warm eyes and a smile that lights up my heart. As I have woven little plaits in her hair on occasion, as we have chatted in her room or sat on our lounge, I have felt a sort of warm de-ja vu as I remembered the similar act of platting my dolls hair on my bed or in a garden somewhere as the grown ups did their grown up thing inside.
Now I’m the grownup.
And while my daughter has a very different personality than my own in many ways, as I watch her fill with life and independence and joyful creative pursuit, I am reminded of what it is to be young.
Do you remember when the world was fresh and big and new? When the adventures you undertook would automatically succeed, at least in your own mind at least. You could see the finished product with a delicious clarity that drove you forward...as I picked up a juicily inky texta, I just assumed that I could replicate whatever it was that I was planning to draw. Maybe you built stunt tracks for your bike with old bricks and planks or made rope courses in the trees. It was with an excited enterprise that we undertook our projects. The world receded as we made our magic, and often, it worked.
We would play for hours with that rope swing or proudly display our picture on the wall of our room.
How do you adult?
What does the world feel like now? Is it with creative abandon that you pursue your tasks and the work of your hands? Or have the responsibilities and rigors of the working world driven away, in part, that more carefree aspect of who you were as a child?
I would like to encourage us; each of us, to set aside a time this week; a moment, an hour or more if possible, to sitting as a child once again.
What would it look like, for you, to sit before Father, remembering that raw DNA with which you were so lovingly crafted at the beginning of time, your days being seen, created before even one of them had passed?
Would it be possible, do you think, to make it a regular happening, this sitting before Father; to write or colour or make daisy chains or just let the wind through your hair.
What if we were to create from this space? To permit ourselves even for a moment, a morning or an afternoon, to remember who we are?
As I sit on this unseasonably warm Winter afternoon, the sun is bright and wind is curling out her whisper through my garden. Our guinea pigs are trotting through the grass and music plays through the speaker. And I remember once more that who I am is not so far from reach; it’s just a breath away; a sigh, a permission, a space for me and Father, made at the beginning of time.
‘It is good.’ He says, ‘it is very good.’