Monday, July 19, 2010

You Can't Go Back

My youngest is no longer so young. Entering seventh grade this year means life as a child is fading while the responsibilities and changes of a young adult are looming on the horizon. 
I drove past a Toys-R-Us the other day and realized it had been several years since I have graced their doors (no love lost there, really). We have been past the “toys for gifts” faze for several years now. Replaced with clothes and books and more grown up gadgets. 
It struck me several years ago that, at some point, there was a last time that I picked up each of my children and held them during church. But, at the moment, I didn’t know it was to be the last time. How sad not to have been able to relish it! 
Yet, if we all knew that it was creeping up to that point in the size and age of our children, I suppose we’d keep picking them up and carrying them around until they were big enough to pick us up and carry you around...which may prove embarrassing for all parties. 
Anyhow, we have been lamenting that our youngest was now entering junior high, and that all of our kids, come fall, were of “youth group” age for church. Although it is a wonderful new stage to be a part of, it has happened so swiftly that I feel I have been plucked up by some giant bird and dropped off further along in my life than I actually should be. 
The other evening I was enjoying some one on one time with my youngest (the one that isn’t so young). She leaned over to me and said, “You know, I’m not sure I want to start youth group in the fall.”
“Really?” I said, surprised by the revelation. “Why?”
“Because, I don’t know that I am ready to grow up just yet. I like being a kid.”
I thought I might melt. How sweet, how refreshing! (And how totally opposite from myself at that age). “That is perfectly fine, honey,” I said. “Once you begin that journey, you can never go back to childhood innocence. But you do have a choice from this end to put off growing up for awhile. There’s no hurry.”
“Ok,” she said is that trustful way that only a child can pull off. And that was all that needed to be said.
Pretty wise, for a kid. :)

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.