I have been thinking about childhood today. I was rummaging through some old boxes and came across some toys I played with when I was a child. Some of them brought back vivid memories of days long gone. I could still remember names I had given some of the army men or who I made the “bad” guys and who were the “good” guys.
I have an entire box full of Star Wars toys. Yes, I was obsessed with the force when I was young. And yes, I still am to some degree! I remember the noises I would make as I would zoom the X-Wing around the living room, torpedoing the Imperial Storm Troopers. I remember breathing (as best I could) like Darth Vader and strangling a few of the Rebels with the dark side of the force.
There were cars and animals and blocks and all sorts of things. All of them, to one degree or another, brought back memories. Memories, not only of the toys themselves, but Christmases and birthdays and special trips with my grandmother (I called her Nanny) to the store, where she would buy me a new Star Wars action figure.
Memories are powerful things: for good and bad. Memories can escort us into those by-gone days, into the presence of people, of loved ones long since gone. Memories can be cherished and kept close to the heart and be a comfort and a solace.
But, memories can also be dark. They can bring remembrances of things, or people we would just soon forget. Many people are haunted by their past. Haunted by hurts done to them. Haunted by their own words, by their own actions. Regrets are the price of bad memories.
Yet, even bad memories may be redeemed.
Whatever your memories, I hope you can focus and recall those fond times. Those lazy summer days with your grandparents. Those evenings, sitting with your dad in his recliner. Those Saturday mornings with mom (or dad!) in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Those days of childhood, of innocence.
Hanging on to the past, whether good times or bad, can hinder our growth; but reflections, when kept in balance, can reassure us in difficult times and lighten an otherwise difficult, dreary day.
Paul stated, When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child . . . . (1 Cor. 13.11)
Channeling a bit of the spirit of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, There is a time to be a child and there is a time to be an adult.
When I was a child. It has past. And now I watch my own children. I watch them play and learn and whine and mope. I watch them grow; growing to become what I now am. Growing to become what for them, at this stage in their life, is an eternity away. Growing to become an adult.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways, Paul finishes his thought. Sometimes it seems we adults haven’t quite got that last bit down pat yet! We still act pretty childish from time to time. We pout and groan and complain. We stomp our feet and drop our bottom lip and throw a tantrum or two. We are spoiled. We want to be amused and entertained. And if we don’t get our way, oh boy, Armageddon has arrived!
I would hope though, within us all, there are those “childish” things that are good and innocent and sweet. The best of childhood we may say.
Let us not be so dreary that we forget to play and laugh and imagine and create and dream. These are the best things. Jesus taught unless we had faith, faith like a child, we would never enter the kingdom of heaven.
So, I think it’s okay, from time to time, to let the inner child out. Let him/her out of the stuffy old clothes of adulthood. Let her out to sing and hope and wish upon some far away star. Let him go chasing frogs and tromping through the mud. Let your hair down. Take a break from the seriousness of being an adult and just enjoy for a while.
And may the force be with you . . .