“It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy. For we have sinned and grown old. And our Father is younger than we.”
– G.K. Chesterton
When you spend the entirety of your “public life” seated, there are few people who take the time to make sure they do what it takes to look you in the eye. I spend most of my conversations looking up, squinting, or wishing I had a more swan-like neck.
Unlike their adult counterparts, children have little trouble approaching me and engaging in conversation; this is partly because many of them look me right in the eye and find me reachable, in the literal sense.
Judah and I are both Fable Cry fans. He was in front of me in line [I was ordering dessert, he was getting a side of bacon. Same thing, in my book].
Naturally, we struck up a conversation. After making introductions I asked how old he is. [He is seven: I didn’t volunteer my age. I know twenty-five is ancient to a child anyway, and I wanted to retain my credibility.] Next, I inquired “What is your favorite thing to do?”
“Hmm,” he said, his brow furrowed.
After a moment, he replied, “Be in plays.”
Judah told me that he had recently been in a play in which his character had 2 lines. He recited them for me, explaining their significance, and saying he hopes to have more lines the next time he is in a play.
He nodded knowingly when I shared from my experience with the theatre- the more you try, and the more plays you’re in, the more lines they’ll give you because they know you can do it- Judah seemed satisfied enough with this, and I thought the conversation was over.
Until he said, “I have second and third favorite things to do, too. Would you like to hear about those?”
“Yes, I would.” I said, as if I had nothing in the world better to do [because I truly didn’t].
He then told me about how much he enjoyed “making weapons out of different things” and “listening to audiobooks”, respectively.
After complimenting Judah on his Silly Band [see above], he offered me one: a guitar. And later, I gave him some bubbles. “For a trade” I insisted.
Wanting to make sure I was happy with my gift, Judah methodically removed his bazillion Silly Bands-one by one-laying them on the table before me, so I could make sure to have my pick. It wasn’t just about picking one. I was to choose the one I thought was the coolest. I had first dibs.
[He and his sister Miriam-age 4- weighed in on their favorites, which helped me to narrow things down a lot quicker.] The call between brontosaurus and guitar was too tough. So I got to have both.
I hope Judah doesn’t mind that I traded the guitar Silly Band for a ride back to my house. I kept the brontosaurus, though. It is my favorite dino, because it is friendly-as I told Judah-and does not like to eat the other dinosaurs.
I plan to keep the brontosaurus parked on my wrist, next to the faces of the Saints, to remind me of Judah, and his example.
Love toward our friends means giving of ourselves. And it means giving good gifts. At times, it means putting everything on the table for them to see. Life is a give and take. And so often I find that when I give from the heart, no matter how small my token, I so often receive more than I ever expected in return.
Case and point.