Monday, January 10, 2011

Get rid of childishness, but never lose any childlikeness

As children, we watch Winnie the Pooh with wide-eyed wonder: a story involving a group of cute cuddly creatures doing random things. How could this not attract young active minds? But most importantly...the story is SAFE. We, as children, trust that the story will turn out okay. In the end we are trusting the AUTHOR to do this although I'm fairly certain no child thinks that deeply on the source of their trust.

So why leave? Why do we 'grow out' of such a protected environment? Eventually we realize that these stories DON'T match reality. Our childhood dreams are TOO safe: to do good means sacrifice, and sacrifice means pain and the possibility of loss. But to make the story 'safe' Winnie the Pooh can have none of that. There can't be a REAL sense that Piglet will suffer terrible loss when searching for Kanga or the story would not be safe. Granted there are SOME difficulties in these tales but nothing to the extent that must be dealt with in real life.

And would we have it any other way? Having a story with characters that do good without any type of difficulties arising at all is not something an adult would read or watch on a regular basis (although occasionally perhaps). Reading a story, watching a movie, hearing a tale of how tragedy was turned to victory, how crisis was evaded, how someone rose above their circumstances...THOSE are the truly inspiring stories. But those stories involve not only REAL triumph but REAL loss.

So we leave childhood behind as unrealistic and we 'grow up'. But must ALL of our childhood be left behind? Was it all for naught? A memory of what was and is no more? Indeed, we need to become more mature; Indeed we must understand that anything worth doing is worth working and hurting for; Indeed we must grow to realize that with the possibility of success comes a possibility for failure, that unforeseen events can ruin our plans and reshape our lives. But need we leave all our childhood trust? We trusted the author of our childhood dreams to keep the story from ending with much more should we trust the Author of our lives to do so.

You see what He has given us? A chance to be in a truly moving tale; not a silly childish fable, but a story with REAL good and REAL evil and REAL hurt and REAL joy, all the while promising that the end will be alright, that all the parts of the story, no matter how malicious, will turn out for the good.

And in heaven, I'm fairly certain that all the pain and hurt caused to us in our story here will seem as harmless as the very small difficulties Pooh-bear suffered while searching for the Heffalump.