Thursday, February 15, 2007


Why is there no Kid’s Day? Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Ground Hog Day -- but no Kid’s Day. This was a matter of some unrest to my young soul. And I thought I was ever so witty in the observation … just like every other kid who thought of exactly the same thing. Now I’m a grizzled adult who thinks he’s ever so witty, in the stultifyingly obvious observation that every damn day is kid’s day. Their job is to play and learn and have fun. Sheesh.

As I say, obvious.

Because we are adults, and wise, we smile benignly upon the silliness of children. We have perspective. We have experience. Children hardly ever go through anything that we ourselves have not passed through. So we understand, and we can minister to their scrapes and bruises with passionless efficiency. It’s no big deal.

Some children, however, are not so blessed. That’s right, they are not so blessed. To have been born into a family that is truly dysfunctional, or worse -- this is not common to all mankind. To have suffered the loss of a parent -- yes, it happens, but it hasn’t happened to me, yet, and I’m all growed up, with roots deep enough that I need not fall to such pain. To be born into a body that shows the fallen nature of the universe -- diseased or deformed or in some way malfunctioning … any prayer of thanks that we offer up to the Lord in such cases must always be a compromise. Thank you because I’m sure good will someday come of it. Thank you because it could have been worse. Thank you except for this.

We have all been born with damaged spirits. That this state should be reflected in our bodies or in our circumstances can’t really be much of a surprise. It’s like complaining about the box being dented when the crystal inside has been smashed. But it doesn’t seem right that God should use children as object lessons: See? -- learn gratitude and humility from this! Yes, it is necessary. I would be a monster of complacency, if I were happy. Even more monstrous, I mean. And of course it happens to children. We all start out as children. Didn't you know that?

I think, or at least I’m toying with the idea, that God enjoys the suffering of children. It’s scary to even write that. He enjoys it because he knows there is most likely a happy ending. Like the movie where hardships assail the hero, who prevails in the end and is rewarded -- the music swells and we, you and I, hope that no one notices the wetness of our eyes. God enjoys, of this universe of which he is the architect, it’s dialectical quality, where misery and joy resolve into maturity. Souls that are destined for eternity must after all have a measure of maturity.

Our spirits are healed at the foot of the cross. Our bodies are made whole as the final rebuke to death. Because we, you and I, have a degree of maturity, these facts comfort us. What is the comfort to the child who suffers? Alas. Alas. Alas, if it is not you, then there is no comfort.

I say alas, because there are so many kids, and so few of you.


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