This year I’m trying to make a conscious effort to write more frequently. I concocted this notion at the end of the December and have invariably let it simmer in the recesses of my mind for the past 30 plus days. So, there’s never going to be a perfect time to start anything (according to Seth Godin) so the best time to launch is now. Cut away the baggage of excuses and just begin. I’m daily confronted by the random hillarities of our boys.
Hillarities (n)- from the Latin (hilarity) meaning a funny and whimsical disposition that is fodder for great stories.
Our middle son, Finn got out of the car yesterday and rushed over to our jasmine bush in the front-yard and proceeded to “file” all of his important school papers into the matrix of vines and leaves.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “Puddin’ my papers away,” stated Finn seriously. After he put away three or four colorful pages he started to pull out older school papers from previous weeks that were now tattered from days of rain and harsh cold. “What are you going to do with those old papers.” “Pudd em’ in my twesure box,” smiled Finn as he bounced up the sidewalk to our door. When we got inside, he took the old papers and rushed them into his room where I saw him pack them away in his shoebox of treasures under his bed. It didn’t really hit me until later that he has a system; a filing system for important things. I’m sure that Finn doesn’t really understand the humorous points of this routine nor does he recognize that their is a beautiful metaphor for Daddy to see- he’s just being a kid; doing whatever comes to his imagination.
No one ever told him to file his school papers away in the jasmine bush- he just did it! And if anyone else would have pulled a two-week old washed out worksheet from preschool, they would simply see trash, not a treasure. Finn’s papers rarely make it from his book bag to the fridge. They always take a detour to a more important place. True value and recognition according to this 4-year-old boy are gained when you are filed away for a season in the jasmine bush- not displayed in the picture frame magnet on the fridge.
What do we do with the things we learn or obtain? How do we present our finest work and achievements? When I read a book or hear someone speak, I often take notes but I rarely go back to them. I don’t have many recognitions or awards, but unfortunately the ones I have displayed have a short shelf life and then find their place in a plastic tub or in the trash. Like Finn I have a filing system too. But very seldom do the things I file away ever become treasures. They may be pulled out accidentally later on in life when I have run out of storage. We just get busy and we compartmentalize to make things… easier?
I fear I’ve learned something from my nappy-headed sweet son- file important things somewhere where they will be tried and weathered. Make these things a part of the front yard of our lives. Where people can see it, ask about it and where it’s chemical, physical and “spiritual” make-up can change over time. Take it to a place where it can mature, not gather dust. It’s then and only then that we can collect it and call it treasure.
The added beauty of Finn’s filing cabinet is that the jasmine bush wraps around our front lamppost (in the spirit of the redeemed Narnia). If John’s gospel shows us anything about this courageous journey that we are on with the man Jesus, the Way, the truth and the life; it’s the vine, the branch, the Light and the abiding nature that creates the reality of life in the Spirit. A reality that undermines the carnal life and juxtaposes the elevated religion that bends our mind and uproots our imagination. Let’s be disciplined to check our best work in at the Jasmine filing cabinet- the order of vegetative life in Christ.