One of my favourite authors is a man called G.K.Chesterton. I still remember where I was when I read his book Orthodoxy, vacillating between being unable to put it down and forcing myself to slow down because I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. I felt like i was eating a feast – simultaneously feeling full and satisfied and yet hungry for more delicious mouthfuls. It is a book filled with fantastic insights and provoking arguments. If you haven’t already read it, do. I promise it will do you so much good.
In Orthodoxy, Chesterton talks of ‘the eternal appetite of infancy’ – a state of fascination and wonder and delight, even in repetition. He writes, ‘Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. 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.’
Jesus said that His Kingdom belongs to little children – the way in is child-likeness. Child-like faith that is quick to believe and sees no reason to doubt. Child-like questions that are motivated by curiosity and not skepticism. Child-like joy that is always ready to bubble over into laughter and delight. Child-like fascination and wonder where repetition does not breed boredom but causes almost unreasonable excitement as the words ‘again, again!’ are exclaimed again.
In my eagerness to seem ‘mature’ I wonder if I have lost some of the beautiful child-like fascination that my Heavenly Papa so delights in. I wonder if I have somehow mixed up maturity and religious behaviour in my head and so become a more solemn version of the woman I was created to be, missing the fun, sun-lit moments that my Heavenly Papa is joyfully setting up for me. Some years ago Jesus spoke to me and encouraged me to take my grown-up ‘leader hat’ off and put my ‘child hat’ on instead so that I wouldn’t pass by moments pregnant with His goodness and pleasure because I was too busy being grown up. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, ‘Earth’s crowned with heaven and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit around and pluck blackberries’. I want to live my life seeing heaven crammed in every moment, I want to see and take off my shoes, I want to persistently wear my child hat so I am ever increasingly caught up in wonder at my marvellous Heavenly Papa. He really is so worthy of wonder – if only I will open my eyes to see.