Aching for Childhood

The book Gilead stole my breath away. Such beautiful, deep, thick, rich prose, like the finest of dark French chocolate. One paragraph I read stuck me in the heart:

You are standing up on the seat of your swing and sailing higher than you really ought to, with that bold, planted stance of a sailor on a billowy sea. The ropes are long and you are light and the ropes bow like cobwebs, laggardly, indolent. Your shirt is red–it is your favorite shirt–and you fly into the sun-light and pause there brilliantly for a second and then fall back into the shadows again. You appear to be altogether happy.

Childhood. Life seemed simple then, when all you had to worry about was swinging higher in and out of shade. Of laughing at tangled kittens, or crying at scraped knees. It seems my entire adulthood is spent in trying to recapture childhood. But it sometimes remains for me an elusive spy, darting farther and farther away the longer I chase it.

As the narrator in this piece, I catch glimpses of childhood when I watch my own children, though they’re more adultlike every day. Thank God for my children who beckon me back to their world. Thank God for a husband who knows when to laugh. Thank God that I’m in the process of becoming more and more wide-eyed. Not only do I want to appear “altogether happy,” but I want to live “altogether happy.”

Oh dear Jesus, make me a child whose toes kiss the sun when I swing in and out of the shadows. Touch my heart, make it young again. Pull away the yoke of adult responsibility just long enough for me to rejoice in a sunny day. Amen.