Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers…
How did it go?
How did it go? (Shel Silverstein, “Forgotten Language”)
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11; context)
My very first nephew was born last week, and his coming into the world has gotten me thinking about childhood, especially those early years that he has to look forward to. Sooner or later, each of us makes the switch from childhood to adulthood. For my nephew’s sake, I hope he waits a good long time. When we make the switch, we lose the easy access to so many things that for children come second nature.
Now whether or not you are still a minor, I’m sure you’ve had the experience of ceasing an activity you once did when you were younger. When I was a kid, I played with LEGO blocks twenty-four hours a day. Then I hit about age 14, and I entered what the LEGO company actually calls “the Dark Ages.” I quit playing with LEGO for some reason or another — I guess something internal told me that I was too old for that particular toy.
As in the case of ceasing our childhood activities, no matter how hard we might try, we all lose things that we once knew but forgot over time. I’m convinced that children know God in a way that adults cannot access. This week, we are going to look at accessing some of these things we might once have known.
Dear God, you formed me in my mother’s womb and have guided my growth for my entire life. Help me to recover some of the things you taught me when I was young so that I can have a more complete picture of my life with you. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, joyful that I have been in your presence for my whole existence, whether I remember or not.
One thought on “The Dark Ages (May 6, 2013)”
Congratulations, Fr. Adam, on your new nephew!
Childhood is a great time of life. (Well, except for the power struggles, and the glass milk bottles that leap out of your hands and smash themselves on the kitchen floor, and other such, difficult moments.)
Becoming a parent and, later, a school teacher, I learned I could re-visit some of the wonder of childhood. Such as reading aloud Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” to my little ones. (If you haven’t read them, please do. You won’t be sorry!)
Other wonderous things include: having immaginary friends, digging forts, (yes, digging), dressing in your parents clothes (and hats, shoes and jewelry), playing “let’s pretend we’re pioneers…”, singing, swinging, and Ice Cream!, among others.
It is helpful, I think, to remember the feelings and events of childhood when one is an adult. St. Paul is right about the break between childhood and adulthood: time to put away childish things.
So, now I hesitate to slide down a bannister rail. But, now I often have dessert first—and call it tea.