When I was a little girl, my sister and I would spend the length of our summer days building indoor forts made of sheets and pillows. We’d fill them with books and toys and stuffed animals. I remember the afternoon sun would flood through the long floor to ceiling windows of our home and splay across our creation. We’d play in those forts all day, invite our mother to visit for snacks, and sleep in them at night.
We were safe and warm, tucked inside. Nothing mattered. The world was there inside those billowing walls, and that was everything.
Those memories are some of my most precious ones… especially now that we are all grown up. And like bees, we are busy swarming from bud to bud, making a life for ourselves and tasting the sweet gifts life has to offer.
But sometimes in the comings and goings, we are stung. And sometimes there’s a crash landing as we navigate the world and all its complexities.
It’s times like those that make me yearn for childhood, lazy summer days, and the shelter of our forts. It’s times like these, when I feel so far off from the beginning years of my life, that I need a little shelter.
I saw a little girl today, running out of a craft store right behind her mother. She had the biggest smile on her face. She skipped and giggled. The sun shined down on her and the technicolored bouquet of silk flowers in her hand. I thought, If only we could be children again… she has her whole life in front of her.
And for a moment, I wished I was her.
But, I am me.
And God put me where he wanted me, when he wanted me. I may not be able to slip inside a sheeted fort with my little sister again; I may not be able to run through the streets with silk flowers in my hands, but I can work to protect the aspects of myself that are childlike.
Growing older doesn’t mean we have to completely relinquish the irreplaceable spark of childhood.
So like a child, we must work to keep the doors of our heart open, as many of you have instructed. We must trust and give others the benefit of the doubt, like a child. And we must see the good in everything, like a child.
And when it all goes to hell—as we know it sometimes does—we can close our eyes, and find shelter in the memories.
…I can almost hear my sister now, giggling and calling my name. I can feel the warmth of the sun seeping through the sheets. Inside the fort, I am safe. I am a child—God’s child...
I can weather this stormy weather if I can just preserve the very nature that God gave to children first.
To simply trust God...
To only see good...
To love effortlessly...
... like a child.