Thursday, June 18, 2009

Children Climbing On My Arms...

John DenverImage via Wikipedia

"Now the dawn is breakin', it's early morn', the taxi's waiting, he's blown his horn..." Well, there's no taxi out here and no horns either, thankfully, but everything else fits. John Denver was Leavin' on a Jet Plane while I'm just starting my day. There's a light breeze and out my window I can see the grass barely nodding in recognition. A small plane just flew overhead -- beyond that, it's silent. Now my neighbor's car on her way to work. I imagine my friend heading for her clinic.

If it's okay with you, I'm still thinking about children this morning. My first genuinely positive adult experience with them occured when I was the pastor of a small church high up in the Colorado Rockies. We had decided I should invite the children to gather with me at the front of the church for a "children's sermon." The first time I tried this, instead of them sitting in a semi-circle as I'd expected, two tried to share my lap, others stood round with a hand on each of my shoulders, and I was almost buried in children. Disbelievingly, I looked at the congregation and grown men were dabbing their eyes. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.

Previously, I'd thought of myself as the guy who scared little kids. I had nothing to base that on except the fact that I'd never been too successful at making babies laugh -- they usually cried instead. But something must have happened to me that day in the church. Those kids imparted a blessing or did whatever it is they do. All I know is, since then kids and dogs find me. It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing. If there's a little kid around, s/he can be counted on to come up and smile, wave, or say "Hi." Kids I've never met, kids I've never even seen before -- they drive by with their parents and wave.

I can't figure it. I mean, it's not like The Santa Clause -- I've lost weight, do not have a white beard (or any other color, for that matter), and reindeer don't follow me when I visit the zoo. Whatever it is, though, I can tell you it's something I'd never change. Of all the things I could or would do differently, this one I'd never touch. It's too good, it's too precious. To those children who climbed all over me that wonderful Sunday morning all I can say is, thank you.

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