Solomon knew a secret. A secret about children. A secret worn, not on the surface of truth, but a treasure buried deep within childhood itself. Solomon’s discernment, his depth of insight, still speaks to hidden truths today. Truths that in our business, in our myopic focus on living sunrise to well beyond sunset, we’ve too easily forgotten. Maybe we’ve failed to glean them altogether. But the truth yet speaks.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD… (Psalm 127:3)
A heritage, Solomon goes on to explain, bearing a special reward from a sovereign, gift-giving God.
I’d known the unique reward of children. I was unaware I’d forgotten reward’s buried blessing. Until yesterday.
Children keep our finger on Heaven’s pulse. I’ve missed that, now that my own children are adults.
My grandson’s first birthday yesterday allowed me, for a moment, to revisit that world of blessing. A world, I realize now, played such a huge role in keeping my feet “on the path” of trusting-thankfulness … my soul connected to Heaven’s heartbeat.
I’ve lost that connection these past few years, and my feet have known stumbling steps foreign to them during my quiver-full’s four childhoods.
I re-tasted it last night, just as my grandson experienced his first bite. It arrived in a dirt cake.
My son and his wife made several childrearing decisions before the birth of their daughter and have held strongly to those decisions. If anything, the arrival of their son twelve months later simply solidified them.
One such resolve came into play during my grandson’s first birthday yesterday. No sugar. The exception? Their birthday cake. For our family, that makes the anticipation of each child’s first taste of cake, especially frosting, extra special.
My grandson’s long awaited first taste of sugary delight arrived in a “dirt-cake” filled black bucket harboring hidden tangy gummy worms. The perfect finish to a one-year-old’s “Fishing Party.”
Though Isaiah had never seen dirt cake before, he had no trouble knowing just what to do with it. Attack it, with two hands. Tentatively, at first. But after the taste of that initial bite, Isaiah quickly began cramming fistful after fistful into his open mouth.
In an instant his ear-to-ear smile was covered over with chocolate dirt. The painting of the rest of his face quickly followed, until soon, little more than the whites of Isaiah’s eyes remained untainted.
He laughed. We laughed. Then, just as abruptly as the smile grew, it faded. Once pleasurable dirt suddenly became uncomfortable, and without warning, in mid giggle, he wanted clean.
He wasn’t full. He simply didn’t like being dirty. Within minutes, the happily-eating-dirt-cake boy was plopped in the kitchen sink where squeals of joy-filled laughter accompanied the cleansing.
Heaven’s pulse began to beat, then throb.
Later that evening, as I reflected on the day’s events, the throbbing reward pierced my heart.
Little has changed since Eden. Eve’s tree remains planted before our eyes. We still look, still long after the promise of sweetness we perceive its fruit bears. Eagerly we reach for it, taste it, even thrill to the tantalizing flavor when first it touches our lips. But, somewhere along the line, we come to realize the tasty juice smeared ear to ear changed … into filthy, slimy dirt. And what was joyful turns to discomfort. What seemed pleasurable becomes distasteful. And we want cleaned … just like my grandson.
We’re no different from Isaiah sitting in the sink. The cleansing must come from another. We’re that little one-year-old baby, incapable of removing the dirt; looking upward to the grace of Another’s washing to strip away the stain and make us clean.
The moment pulses with reminders. Reminders of longing. Reminders of so many tastings. Reminders of the discomfort of our condition, when the expected sweetness turns uncomfortably sticky. And reminders of a Father’s love, which never diminishes, and the washing Heaven’s heart paid so painfully much to provide.
Heaven’s pulse continues to beat through the hidden rewards of our inheritance.
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.