Aspen, our five-year old, informed us that she would like to change her name. She wishes to be called, “McKenna” which is also the name of her new, all time favorite American Girl doll. Along with this name change we are to purchase her a horse which she will name, “Flicka” something else she fell in love with after watching the same-titled movie. I told her that taking care of a horse was a lot of work. She replied in her confident five-year old manner, “That’s OK daddy, you can clean the horse poo and pee and I’ll make sure it gets exercise by riding it.” It’s fun to see and hear how so completely excited Aspen can get about something that she really likes. Right now its dolls and horses, next week it will be something else. But whatever object or idea captures her imagination, she will be equally as sold out excited about it as she has been over McKenna and Flicka.
Watching her seemingly bottomless ocean of enthusiasm I felt the vague haunting of my own childhood. Memories through the mist of time of when I, too, was that turned on about something. I can remember my favorite superhero: Underdog! And all the boiling over excitement I had whenever that cartoon show came on. I wanted to be just like him so I put on my blue security blanket and only talked in rhyme–things Underdog were known for: his devotion for Sweet Polly and ability to limerick his way through beating the bad guys. If you are unfamiliar with this giant of the superhero world, you can click this link and be brought into the loop of knowledge:
Now, I’m not trying to make Underdog fans of everyone (though that would be a noble endeavor) but reliving the memories of how excited I could get about something while watching Aspen living that same level of energy I remember having as a kid sent a thought through my head like a brick thrown through a window: when was the last time I was that excited about anything? What happened to my ability for complete abandon? How much harder is it to touch my imagination and what has waxed over my sense of wonder? Is this just what happens when you get older? Do time and cynicism conspire to create callousness over our spirits?
As I listened to her go on about her plans to build a lime-Ade stand to make money so we could buy a horse, I found myself wishing I could be as free as she seems to be. Free to be so swept away by the simple. Free to be completely abandoned to imagination. To love so freely and easily as she seems to do with everyone who comes into her life. Then another mental brick came crashing through my head. Jesus was looking right at me saying, “Until you become like this little child, you can’t begin to comprehend what it’s like to live in God’s Kingdom, and understand that your Father has created a place especially for you and has invited you over for an eternal play date.”
Sounds kind of simple I guess…but also pretty awesome. I’ll see you in the sandbox.