When I was younger, all I wanted to do was grow up. I wanted to get bigger and older and get a job and maybe get married. Like many kids, I couldn’t wait to be an adult. Now that I’m an adult and have those responsibilities, I wonder why on earth I was in such a hurry to grow up. But, isn’t that the way with childhood? We wish it away and then wish we could have it back.
I think the reason for the rush to grow up is that childhood is filled with lots and lots of rules. We tell ourselves that when we grow up, we will get to make the rules. It’s appealing to think of being our own bosses, being able to set our own limits, and being able to say “yes” to something that sounds fun or delightful.
Childhood – when you are a child – feels like it is filled with people telling you “no.” Adulthood may sometimes have more “yeses,” but it also can lose some of the wonder and imagination of childhood. So, we wish it away and then wish for it back, because we grow up and realize the world is harder than we ever imagined. We may be able to tell ourselves “yes,” but a lot of times the world still tells us “no.” Or, we see more pain than we ever imagined, more complicated struggles than we thought possible, or more stress and worry than we think we can manage.
Life can be hard.
One thing I loved from my childhood was reading, especially poetry. A favorite poem of mine that has stayed with me was written by Shel Silverstein, and it goes like this:
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be
(from Where the Sidewalk Ends)
As children, we grow up longing to hear more “yeses,” and as adults we realize how many “nos” are outside of our control. In the church, we get to brush up against the reality that goes beyond anything we can see – that nothing is impossible for God. In 2 Corinthians 1:20 we read that “in [Jesus] every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’”
Into the impossible, God makes everything possible. To the world’s “no,” Jesus gives God’s resounding “yes.” This is a foretaste of what’s to come, a sampling of what it will be like on the day when all the darkness is overcome by the light. Anything can happen, friends. Anything can be.
Let’s dream together.