When I was a child, I was the biggest cry baby in the world. If I didn’t get my way, I cried. As I got older, if I lost any game from checkers to kickball, I brooded. If I got hurt, I moaned. If someone said something mean to me I took umbrage. I was a world champion umbrage taker. Everything just seemed to hurt so much back then and I think I used it as an excuse to remove myself from chances of getting hurt. Every insult was the end of the world. Every injury wiped out all prospects of good.
Now I’ve grown older. I’m a Dad of five. A husband. I’ve had broken bones. I’ve been wronged often. Disappointments galore. But things like that just don’t effect me the way they used to. Pain and disappointment have lost their ability to surprise. I think when we get older, we come to expect the worst in so many things. And I think that’s why children take us so much by surprise.
I was just carrying my three year old up to bed. He wasn’t feeling well today so I allowed him to fall asleep on me on the couch. Just a bit ago, I saw he was fast asleep so I picked him up and carried him to bed. At the top of the stairs I stepped on a toy. A very pointy toy. Wow! My leg buckled and I knew I was falling so I turned my body to protect the boy and banged my head on the door frame to his room.
I stood there for a moment just to make sure I was steadied again and to take a bodily inventory. And my three year old slowly raised his head off my shoulder and without opening his eyes he asked, “Are you OK, Dad?”
The banging the head thing, the foot stabbing I can take. It’s the “Are you OK, Dad” that kills me. I’m never prepared for that kind of thing. Kindness and love always take me by surprise. I have recently found myself vulnerable to beauty in many of its forms. It might say more on how I view the world which would likely be a sad commentary on me but I just thought I’d share.