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Chips off the ol’ block

Chips off the ol’ block

Chips off the ol’ block

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

My wife, Liz, and I try to enjoy as much camping as possible during the summer months. We have a small pop-up trailer that accommodates us very well as our little home away from home. Somehow we misplaced a total of three full sets of keys for the trailer this summer, and had to have it completely refitted with new locks. My losing of keys is not at all unusual. But when it also happens to my wife, well, that is highly irregular. I admit that I am somewhat relieved that for once, it wasn’t only me!

One weekend this summer we were camped at one of our favourite Provincial parks. While I was freshening up in the washroom next to the children’s playground, Liz occupied herself by swinging on one of the swings. A little girl about 4 years of age, came over to her, stared at her for a moment, and then innocently asked: “Are you a big kid?”

Yes! Definitely! And I say that with the greatest amount of affection and respect. Liz is a big kid. So am I. Maybe that’s part of what keeps us so close, unencumbered, and sane.

We adults, really, are all just big kids. Sometimes we get confused and like to think we are the king of the hill, and bigger than what we are. Sometimes we like to pretend that our adult sophistication and over-rated maturity places us in a higher category, exempting us from fears and foibles and insecurities and childish ways. But when it really comes down to it, we all are just kids inside, with worries and dreams, hopes and anxieties, bravado and insecurities all mixed together, trying to make sense of a world that is becoming less and less sensible all the time. We, like children, long for assurance from someone, somewhere, that everything will work out fine, that the sun will shine again and  that ultimately our lives have meaning and purpose.

Liz’s friend Bea is an inspiration to me. She is a genuine soul, down to earth and wonderfully transparent, an adult who does not take herself too seriously, who has had her share of joys and of pain, but by the grace of God, has weathered the storm. Bea lost her daughter, her only daughter, when she was just five years of age. She contracted leukemia at the age of three, and only months later died in her mother’s arms. The story is tragic, and heart wrenching, but it is also inspirational.

When Bea learned that her daughter was dying, you can only imagine the hopelessness and impending despair that gripped her heart. It is hard enough for adults to fathom such a tragedy, let alone a three year old who is feeling more and more unwell each passing day. It was what Bea did for her daughter that touches me the most. Appealing to the Big Kid inside of herself, Bea was able to put everything into a context that made sense to a child, and which gave both comfort and hope to her very sick little girl. She explained to her daughter that she was soon to be going on a trip, with Jesus, to a wonderful place. And together, they would pack a suitcase just for this trip. Over the next few months amidst the onslaught of procedures and tests and needles and increasing weakness, Bea and her daughter would focus on the trip to come, imagining what it would be like to go on a trip with Jesus, what they would do, and where they would go. Together mother and daughter packed a suitcase with her favourite things, with clothes for warm sunny days when she and Jesus would walk together on the beach, warmer clothes for days when the two of them would just sit together by the fire roasting marshmallows and telling stories, and of course her favourite jammies and teddy bear for the nights when Jesus would tenderly tuck her in and softly kiss her forehead before she drifted off into a peaceful sleep. In this way, a grieving mother was able to bring a measure of hope and comfort to her little girl, and shone light into the darkness that threatened to surround them..

On the day of the funeral, next to the tiny casket, sat a suitcase, lovingly packed, for the trip with Jesus.

Bea is one of my heroes! I can think of very few other true stories that move me more.

Jesus said, “Unless you become as a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  

On any day, without reservation, I would gladly trade away a pound of adult sophistication for just one ounce of childlike trust.


Pastor Kranz

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