One evening, I asked my two-year-old grandson if he wanted to go outside. He likes to go outside. I got distracted in conversation with my son and daughter-in-law, and Brayden picked up a toy and played with it. Before long he came to me with his shoes and new little windbreaker. He had not forgotten.
I helped him put on his shoes and windbreaker, and what was going to be a stroll around the front yard turned into a walk around the block, actually a mini-adventure. With all the rain we have had recently, we walked past a drain, and you could hear the river running through it. We stopped to stare into the drain. He kept going back to stoop down and look at the flow of water and listen to its sound. There was also a huge puddle next to the drain. I kept him away from that.
A few houses away we have some new neighbors. On the top of their car, they have a sizeable statue of an owl. Brayden was immediately fascinated. I told him what it was and said, “Hoo, hoo!” He said, “Ow-el, ow-el, hoo, hoo!”
Next to their garage, there was a flat, icon-styled owl perched in a tree. “Ow-el, ow-el, hoo, hoo!” We got lost in the fascination of these two owl decoys. As we walked away, he looked back and yelled, “Ow-el, ow-el!” There was a third owl on the side of the garage perched on an iron rod. Three owls, wow! From then on we were looking for owls at every house we passed.
We were almost home, and we noticed that two little neighbor boys were out playing on their driveway with their mom. “Do you want to tell Logan and Caleb about the owl you saw?”
We walked over to the boys, and Brayden said, “Ow-el, hoo, hoo!” The boys already knew about the big old owl on the top of the car.
I said, “Did you know there are two more?”
Well, that was it. Brayden, Logan, Caleb, mom, and I took a stroll to see the other two owls.
On the way back, Brayden stopped to stare into the storm drain again. So did Logan and Caleb. Then, the puddle. The other two boys started running through it. I couldn’t hold him back, could I? Every child loves a good puddle. Mom and dad will understand. Brayden and his new friends ran through the puddle. It was an evening stroll into simple joy.
I was reading about an artist recently, who said that his mother taught him how to observe life. She was always pointing out things to look at. Moving through life at a quick pace, we don’t always have time, no, we don’t always think we have time, no, we don’t take the time to observe things.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
I wonder how many kingdom observations we miss every day because we are distracted. How much is Jesus doing that we don’t see? I need to take a stroll into joy and learn to walk into wonder more often.
If you ever drive by and see me jumping in a puddle, you’ll know what’s happening.
Recover some childlike wonder.