In his latest ‘Yours Faithfully’ column for the Stoke Sentinel, Saltbox’s Church Liaison Officer, Tim Lucas, reflects on parenthood and appreciating the beauty of the world that surrounds us.
There is a quote from the author George R. R. Martin that says, in essence, that the person who reads lives a thousand lives before they die, but the person who doesn’t read lives only one.
We can understand the sentiment behind what he is saying; somehow, we experience something through other people that we could not experience just by ourselves.
I find this to be very true. My son, Oscar, has just turned 10 months old, and as such, the whole world is new, fresh, and amazing to him. In a world of rain and sun, colours, trees and flowers, sounds and shapes, he is the tenacious explorer, and my wife and I are the ones who marvel at his prowess. Nowhere is out of bounds for him, nothing is too big or too daunting – everything exists to be known, discovered, unpacked, unravelled, and understood.
It is through watching him that I have come to learn again about the wonder of the earth and all that is contained within it. Because of him, the colours are brighter, the buds on the trees are worthy of being stopped and looked at and felt, the horses in the field near to me compel me to stroke them, the clouds must be taken in and appreciated. I am experiencing things once again through his experience of them.
It is not that I ever forgot those things, but there is something about adulthood that races along, while childhood pauses to drink in the entire beauty of life and creation.
Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children and to those who are like them, and I think I am beginning to understand something about what he meant.
To those who can play with no agenda other than sheer enjoyment; to those who can see another and smile at them with the purest of smiles; to those who are awed and astounded by the simplest of things; to those who know how to express themselves openly and honestly, both with tears and laughter, and who are not ashamed to do so time and time again – to them, heaven is near.
Inherent in all of this is the understanding that I am not yet as I should be. I still have much to learn. Simply being an adult does not make me complete, but until I die I am on a constant learning curve.
There will, no doubt, be far more that I learn through my boy. As he grows and discovers news things, has new experiences, and finds ways to express himself more, the challenge is that I also learn from him; I cannot presume that I know everything already.
In fact, it is a travesty if I should think that my being older than him meant that the only order of things is that he should learn from me. How much would I miss? How little would I learn? How stunted would my own development become?
My hope is that I can always find time to play with him, to listen to him, to learn from him, to ask him what he thinks about things. Who knows, maybe one day I can grow so much that I become like him.
Tim Lucas (Saltbox Church Liaison Officer)