"Even a devastated place is sacred. If we know what it once was, we may begin to understand what its possibilities are." - Emmet Gowin
I'm thinking of this quote in relation to people; people who are, have been, and will be "devastated." If we know what they once were, we may begin to understand what their possibilities are. And what were we all once? Children - that sacred region of the soul called childhood. There are those who pooh-pooh on looking back and trying to see into their lives as a child. Unfortunately, many of these people are Christians. They take the apostle Paul's words literally: "Forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3.13). But I don't believe that's how Paul intended his words to be taken. Forgetting what was back then may just be the quickest way to losing what might possibly be ahead. This literal rendering of Paul's words seems to place a prime value on being grown-up, having put away childish things, having moved on. But I'm afraid that taking this stance causes a literal rendering in the heart, for Jesus said something about becoming like a little child and if you couldn't...well, the kingdom might just be a pipe dream. In taking the childish out to the curb, we may have unknowingly included the childlike. Or maybe we did it knowingly, trying to press on. But we've lost it and now we don't know where we put it. We're devastated, hope-less, unable to look for possibilities. We may be older, but we're not wiser.
What was I as a child? Or at least younger than I am now? What was my wife as a little girl? What were my parents as kids, growing up in the depression? What was my boss as a dark-haired boy? There are people in my life right now that I'd consider devastated. Even me. How do I understand my childhood without tons of expensive therapy and lots of getaway weekends where I sit and ponder my inner boy and books and tapes and seminars leading me down a reverse yellow brick road back to Kansas? Maybe I don't need all that, maybe. Maybe one of the many gifts of having children is being able to see first hand how a child's heart beats and if I'm attentive to that, maybe, just maybe, it can help me remember that sacred place in my life as well. I'm not advocating using my children in some manipulative way so that I can achieve something. I'm advocating paying attention to these precious ones, so fresh from God. And in the process, maybe I can remember what I once was and reach forward to what I might be. Any maybe I can relate to other people in this way as well - my wife, parents, friends, employers, bastards in traffic, etc. What were we once? You know, back when...when the world still had dew on it? Let the little children come, for as such is the kingdom of heaven.