We had a friend and her teen daughter (we also consider her a friend) over for a meal recently, and sometime during the conversation I advised Lydia not to be in a rush to grow up. I cautioned her that being an adult isn’t all it looks like from the perspective of a young person who’s waiting impatiently for adulthood to arrive.
Adulthood with all of its promises.
Today my wife and I went to the local Hobby Lobby store to buy some yarn, and I wandered around for a while rather than watch Kathleen make up her mind. When I saw the sign pictured above, I whipped out my smart phone, took a picture, and changed my mind about what I was going to write a blog post about today.
When I was a kid, I loved reading Peter Pan. Couldn’t watch the DVD; video recorders hadn’t been invented yet, and my parents couldn’t have afforded one, anyhow. I may have seen the original movie, but I barely recall it. The book was GREAT, though! How many times did I read it? No telling.
Who could forget the fun and happy concept of a flying boy who wants to remain a child forever–and never grow up?
I can’t say that book made me want to remain young forever, though. After all, Peter Pan had a lot of responsibilities–caring for all those Lost Children and protecting them from Captain Hook.
I looked at my parents. Rather serious people, it seemed to me. We weren’t poor, but we couldn’t afford many of the things my friends had. Who knows if we would have ever gotten a TV set if one of my father’s churches hadn’t given us one in appreciation for his ministry? Or a stereo if his next church hadn’t been equally generous?
No, adulthood didn’t look all that great. But what was I to do? I was going to grow into it without having a choice, and I didn’t prove very adept at taking on adult responsibilities. Not at first, anyhow.
My father took me to the state employment office to apply for a part-time job, and I ended up working at a huge bread bakery. I had to stand on my feet for hours at a time and do nothing but staple boxes together.
I’m flatfooted, although that’s not as much of a problem now as it was then. Without talking to my parents first, I quit after the first day. My feet couldn’t take it.
My parents were quite disappointed, but they never pushed me to find part-time or summer work again. I hope they didn’t think I was useless. As it is, I still feel slightly guilty for having been the way I was then.
A Peter Pan life was looking better and better, but I knew it was only make-believe.
I grew into adulthood. Technically, anyhow. Eighteen came and went without much fanfare. So did twenty-one. In between was one momentous event, though; the time I almost got drafted (this was at the height of the Vietnam war) when I failed to notify the draft board that my graduation from junior college was not the end of my education and I was transferring to a senior college.
Whether the Army would’ve made a man of me or simply gotten me killed, I’ll never know.
I have no desire to return to childhood. I can only remember bits and pieces of it; some of them were okay and some were regrettable.
What about that sign at Hobby Lobby, though? Is adulthood a trap?
Hmm. As a child I didn’t pay taxes or fret about what I would do when I grew up or how many vocations I’d go through to find the one I really liked. I didn’t know about all the evil in the world, and I didn’t know enough about violence to be afraid of it. Even if ISIS had existed then, I wouldn’t have known to be concerned about it. I never attended a funeral until I was in my twenties; so death didn’t seem like much of a reality.
As I continued to age, though, everything changed. I found that adulthood had definite drawbacks. Many things to dislike or feel ill at ease about. Reasons to appreciate God more and start looking forward to the perfection and sinlessness of Heaven.
I look at my life now and thank God daily for helping me safely reach this point. With His help, I’ve never felt hopelessly trapped. The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” He loves me perfectly, and I do my best to love Him that way, too.
God doesn’t want me to fear anything. Or to feel trapped. Even though I’ve become not just an adult, but one who’s had years of experience being one, I enjoy a sense of freedom I never knew as a child.
What about you? Do you ever feel trapped by circumstances? Do you ever wish you could become a child again to escape the various trials and evils of adulthood? Or are you living in God’s comforting presence, taking things as they come and trusting that He’s ultimately in control, even when He permits bad things to happen to good people? How about leaving a comment?
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