My older sister sent me a picture today. In it, my one year-old niece (whom I affectionately dub Peewee) has ladies undergarments draped around her neck and a smile that has a dash of mischief. Maybe two dashes. Julia said she was folding laundry and Peewee kept taking unmentionables out of the basket and pulling them over her head.
It's one of those adorable pictures that could be stashed away and, in about fifteen years, shown to potential boyfriends. I say could because I don't think we'll do that. I don't think we really should. I would hate for the sweet little girl grinning like an elf in the photo to be embarrassed for her antics, for wanting to wear mommy's clothes and be noticed. I want her to look back at the photo, if she ever sees it, through the eyes of those who love her and were enthralled by the cute, and goofy things she did.
I love that Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." I think its very hard sometimes to forget whose watching or worry about what they'll think. It stifles our joy, our willingness to be goofy just for fun and to smile fully as we enjoy something just because.
I know there's a lot of times I'd like to play and I stop myself. Being naturally ungraceful, it's in my public image's best interest to sit out most athletic events. But how amazing to be free of that. To live in a single moment, unwary of the perception of this earth as I play in the presence of my God. I think in heaven we'll play dress up and turn cartwheels. We'll worry not at all about looking suave and instead be caught up determining exactly how much joy a single moment can hold.
Thank you, God, for childhood. For nieces and their smiles, for your affinity for the childlike, and that however old I may become, I can come to you undignified and know you'll smile.