Come and Be Like a Child

Alice Kraus

One of my favorite things to do is watch YouTube videos of fathers spending quality time with their children. There is one video where a young father is gazing intently at his daughter who is just a little baby and he is beatboxing to her (if you haven’t watched it, go find it and let it bless your day. Just search for “baby dancing to dad’s beatboxing”). She is dancing around wildly in her high chair and squealing with delight, and every time her dad stops, she looks at him with a quizzical expression and asks, “more?” She waits in anticipation and dad never tires of doing it over and over again and I never tire of watching this video over and over again. It never gets old. Try to watch it without smiling the whole time. It’s impossible!

This is exactly how our Father delights in us! He sings over us and gazes upon us with delight and we can’t help but praise Him and desire Him more every time we hear His song. How else can we respond but to express ourselves with our whole bodies in dance! And like a good Father, He never tires of singing His song. He rejoices when we come to Him asking for “more.” I desperately need to hear this and I constantly need to remember it because I forget it all too often. In the repetition of daily routines and monotonous responsibilities, I forget to open my eyes to see the gift that is in every moment. “O, you days of work and monotony” says St. Faustina, “you are not monotonous to me at all for each moment brings me new graces and opportunity to do good.”

God has a unique, specific gift for each of us in every moment of every day. We need the grace to see it with the eyes of childlike wonder and the courage to live this way without fear of what others will think of us. The lyrics of a song called “Wonder” by Bethel Music often come to mind, “Wide eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child, staring at the beauty of our King…You are beautiful in all Your ways.” I long to live in such freedom each day of my life and I’m grateful for the people and the experiences that have opened my eyes to that reality.

In 2017, I had the privilege of living and serving as a Life Teen missionary on a small base tucked away in the mountains of northern Georgia. When I close my eyes, I conjure up images of the beauty that stopped me in my tracks—the rising of the sun breaking over the mountains, the mist rising from the still surface of the lake, the dew sparkling on every blade of grass in an endless field, the little white chapel at the end of a winding path... At night, the moon was bright enough to light the way and the treetops seemed to frame the night sky. The stars drew me in the most—huge, clear, innumerable, indescribable. I never tired of those views and they always left me in awe just as much as the previous sunrise or starry night sky. With every changing season, they looked new and just as beautiful (read it as a metaphor for your own life).

God, if You are in everything, then give me the eyes to see. G.K. Chesterton responds to the question of my heart: how am I to be like a little child again? For Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3). G.K. Chesterton reflects, "Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we (Orthodoxy).”

If God delights in watching new flowers pop up and seeing the morning and night day after day, why would He do anything less than delight in each new day that we arise from sleep? If God delights in me as I arise, then I hope that I would arise delighted to receive everything that He desires to offer me that day. Who am I to assume that the daisy that’s creeping up out of the ground wasn’t made just for me? John Paul II reminds us that, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure” and I pray for the grace to start living life that way. It starts with the courage to invite Jesus into our day and to give Him the permission to take us on an adventure. God will never hurt us. Rather, he has specific and unique blessings for each of us in every moment of every day. Every blessing is a gift to show us a taste of how much He deeply and profoundly loves us. Wow! And we are so very human and will often forget this, “but this I will call to mind, therefore I will hope: The Lord’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, His compassion is not spent; they are renewed each morning. Great is Your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

Alice Kraus