Posts Tagged ‘Delight’

It’s that time of year again … School picture time!

These are the photos that, no matter how nice the clothes, no matter how clean the hair, no matter how rested you feel the photos will always look worse than the year before. But maybe I am just speaking of my own experience!

When my two school-aged kids brought theirs home, I looked at them not as the one who had them taken, but as their mom.

When I looked at the photo of my son, I saw the baby we had prayed would make it through pregnancy, the one who used to want a snuggle after school, the one who says ‘I love you’ every day. I saw a young man who loves football, his dad, his friends, his music and God. I saw it all in the blink of an eye and thought, this is good, oh, how he has grown to be like his dad!

Then I looked at the photo of my youngest daughter, and I saw the baby who did not stop crying until she was two years old, I saw the toddler who wanted a play date plan before her eyes were opened every morning, I saw the girl who knew how to make people smile, and who never sees differences when she meets someone new. I saw a beautiful young woman who loves people of all ages, animals, thinking about the future and her Heavenly Father. I saw it all and thought, this is good, I can see me in those eyes.

It took me back to when her grade two pictures came home, and then and there I saw within this child who everyone said looked just like her dad (including me), a reflection of me. For all those first seven years of her life I figured I had merely been the vessel that got her here, but that day I saw something of myself in her image. Actually it was almost a mirror image of my own school photo at the same age.

I remember so well looking at her photo that day and searching for my own to compare my memory with the reality of looking at her photo and mine. Once I found it, the similarities were astounding to me. This child, this child who I thought my only contribution to her being was in housing her growing unborn body, looked so strikingly like me. I stared in amazement and although I had always looked upon her image as beautiful, now I looked upon her image with awe, and with a new joy. She reflected me! She was undeniably mine!

My daughter has always been, since conception, an image of me, but there was something about seeing it with my own eyes that gave me delight.

I wonder if that is what God feels (delight) when He looks at us, His children. We have always been, since the beginning of time, an image of our Creator, but He sees Himself in us when we reflect who He is, His love, His mercy, His grace, His compassion. And when He sees, not only the physical reflection of His image, but the reflection of His being, His heart, He, like me with my daughter, delights in His Creation. And maybe He whispers, “you are good” as He did after each act of Creation.

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27

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There is nothing quite like spending a day full of delight to fill a person with wonder! And the best way to accomplish that is to spend the day looking through the eyes of a child.

And that is how I spent my afternoon.

But, it didn’t start out that way.

We joined a family that we know through our daughter’s swim coaching, at their nearby campsite. The drive there was not all that delightful. Our eleven-year old son, and fourteen year old daughter had enough tension and complaining and arguing between them to start WW3! I finally threatened (oh, yes, I threatened … I reached parental boiling point from which there is no sense, and no turning back), that if they did not act as expected (and no, I did not define what was expected), they would be in trouble (and no, I did not define what the trouble was). And silence overcame the van (as hubby was making yet another UTurn, with the hopes that he was finally heading in the direction that “I was sure we needed to go” … it was not a stellar start to the day for me, relationally, with my family).

From the moment we arrived, the mood and minds and hearts that exited the van were very different from before we emerged from it’s frame.

We greeted our hostess, and wandered through the campground to locate the dad, and their kids. When we found each other, their children (a boy of five, and daughter of seven) came running with open arms towards my fourteen year old daughter, and I.

We returned to their site to have introductions made (as hubby one and hubby two had not met before), and smokies put on the fire.

For about two and a half hours we chatted, giggled, ate, took pictures, watched the kids ride bikes, eat smores with the most humongous marshmallows ever, and giggle some more. And then, we went to the beach.

For the next two and a half hours the four ‘kids’ spent jumping waves, building sandcastles, falling into frigid Northwest coastal waters, burying their feet, running into and out of the waves, and more giggling. And this is where transformations began …

All four of the kids (aged five, seven, eleven, and fourteen)  p l a y e d  like … kids.

The older two were no longer playing at playing, for the sake of the younger ones. The older two were as fully engaged in their own imaginations as were the younger two. They buried their feet deep into the sand, because the effects of the water rushing over the sand caused wonder for them. They jumped into the waves, not just because they were trying to steady the little bodies attached to the hands that they were holding, but because they were experiencing joy in trying to outsmart the nature of the waves. They built sandcastles, not because they were assisting the construction of the dreams of the younger children, but because they were building out the dreams of their own imaginations.

They were fully engaged in the delight of wonder … as the little children were, and as were the four parents, watching a few feet away.

We said our goodbyes, and drove the half hour trip back to our vacation home. And our drive home …

Our eleven and fourteen year old talked together, sang together, laughed together, and … delighted in the wonder that was planted by the seeds of children. Those children who were just being themselves, and who reminded all of us that we are never too old to play.

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