“Don’t drink out of the wrong side of your glass! You can’t drink upside down!”
We were just sitting down to our weekly pizza night with our children and grandchildren. The Lovely Lady’s voice was a little exasperated as she said the words, but I think I heard a touch of laughter in it as well. I turned my attention away from one of the pretty little girls just in time to see the nine-year-old boy’s tongue snake out and lap up the juice in his glass.
Well, at least he hadn’t actually drunk from the wrong side of the glass. But, as I considered it, the idea took root and grew. I’ve been told that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree–probably not always true, but in this instance it could be accurate. You see, I wanted to try drinking from the wrong side of the glass, too.
Before I had a chance, the Lovely Lady’s daughter spoke up from the other end of the table, “Stop that! You heard Grandma!”
The eight-year-old boy at that end of the table also had his snout in a glass and was tipping the glass the wrong way. His attempt at the perilous maneuver was halted by his Mom’s intervention and he sighed audibly as he placed his glass back down on the table with a loud thunk.
Both ladies were surprised to hear another voice at the table say, “I want to see if I can do it.”
Yeah, of course it was. My voice. You knew it would be.
They both rolled their eyes at the same time.
I couldn’t tell you which one asked that. They both thought it, I know.
May we talk about this for a moment? Just for a moment.
I don’t think I’m moving into a second childhood. Most of the time, I’m as serious as I need to be. I accomplish assigned tasks reasonably well. I get along with folks around me. I sometimes even see things which need doing and do them myself.
I am an adult. It’s just that I want to explore sometimes. I want to see if a thing is possible. When told that it can’t be done, I want to be sure.
His Son, when He walked this earth, suggested that the only way we could come to God was as a child, sincere and trusting. His followers were strong men, manual laborers who had left childhood behind long years before. They were jaded and unwilling to trust completely. The teacher merely told them to put aside their suspicions and the hardness that life had brought to each of them.
Become as little children. Trust. Obey. Forgive.
Why is that so hard?
Life estranges us from loving others. Experience hardens us to belief. Failure turns us away from hope.
The child remembers. The child inside still recognizes truth–and love–and grace. Second chances still exist.
Adventures still await.
I don’t ever want to lose the joy and freedom of those years. Oh, the body changes; life experiences have their effects. But, the child remains. And remembers.
I did try to drink out of the wrong side of my glass, by the way. I may have spilled a drop or two.
Don’t tell anybody. Okay?
“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head–
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”
(From Alice In Wonderland ~ Lewis Carroll ~ English author ~ 1832-1898)
“And He said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”
(Matthew 18:3 ~ NIV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.