Rachel Jenae

Through Their Eyes

It was somewhere between the 10th, or maybe 11th, coat of nail polish that I realized that Dora “fingernail polish” wasn’t gonna cut it. This girl was serious about her nails and bottom line, they needed to show it! So I busted out my real fingernail polish that, I currently had on my own toes, and we went to town. But getting Jo, who just passed her proud 3 year-old landmark, to sit still long enough and let her tiny nails dry was the tricky part. Several repeats later she was beaming! “Aunt Jenae! Aunt Jenae! They’re just like yours!” Pointing to my toes excitedly. Then she wanted her hair done.  Then she wanted her Dora lipstick. All part of a great day in the life of a 3 year old.

Spending time with my niece and nephew is always like a surge of life. Their young curiousity and laughter, worn like a pair of glasses in which they see the world, reminding me to play more and work less. To have tickle fights in the middle of the day. Build forts and hide hide from monsters. Dress up and look beautiful merely because you can. Read books and be captivated by the pictures. Play with play-dough and mix the colors. Talk too loud. Ask for you what you want and ask often. Interrupt often. Squeal. Splash. Cry.   All a part of a great day through their eyes.

But life has a way of sucking the child right out of us all. Child-like faith. Child-like behavior. Child-like anything. We learn quicky that life demands we grow-up and do what we need to do. Want is scheduled for rare moments and even then it is contained and controlled. We soon decide that even letting ‘want’ or ‘desire’ sit in the back room waiting for later only creates a nagging that makes the rest of the day ache with longing. So, before we can feel that ache, we just lock it in the back room, having decided it’s much too painful to hold onto. Instead, we’ll do what’s expected of us. We’ll work hard. We’ll maybe even work to the top, but all the while, desire is forgotten and childish ways put aside.

I recently had a conversation with a young woman I know very well. We were discussing life and dreams and where God seems to be leading her. She was sharing with me a great many big and beautiful things that are in her heart of hearts, the things that often don’t even get glimpsed at by others on the surface, but then she stopped.  Almost backing out of a door she’d started to open, and she said “I just want whatever God wants for me”. The conversation carried on a little longer, but I could feel her withdrawing and closing that door again.  Safely closed, dreams enclosed.  

I walked away with the picture of her retreat heavy on my heart.  The phrase she’d used to shut the door reciting in my mind, “whatever He wants for me.”  

A few days ago I met a homeless man while getting into my car at the grocery store.  He asked if he could approach me closer and speak with me.  I told him yes, and continued digging in my purse for my car keys, loaded down by the 6 bags I was carrying all on one arm.  The man began speaking, head held low, almost mumbling, repeating the same phrase about how he knows there’s nice folks around these parts.  As I loaded the groceries in my car and freed my arm I turned to give him my full attention.  He had yet to ask me for anything.  After a several more minutes I finally asked him, “Sir, how can I help you?” Continuing to hold his head low he responded, “Oh just whatever, whatever you can“.  I told him I never carried cash and asked again what else I could do for him, thinking surely he’d ask for food or a car ride-seeing how I had both.  I asked him 3x’s and each time got the same response, “whatever, just whatever“.   I drove away burdened by the simple fact that this man couldn’t answer me.  Even for the most basic things, he had locked that room of his heart, way in the back, hidden and probably forgotten, but he no longer knew what it was he really wanted.

Somewhere between the heart of a child and growing up in to full fledged ‘grown-ups’, our minds and hearts have had a disconnect.  We rarely ask God for what we really want, assuming that would be too much to ask and only setting ourselves up for disappointment.  We settle for doing what is good and right and asked of us.  There’s no risk there.  We put aside passages like these:

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. -Psalms 20:4

You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. -Psalms 21:2

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalms 37:4

We shut the door and forget where we put the key and any time we might, maybe, possibly hear God ask us, “What can I do for you?” or “What do you want?” we pass it off as our own selfish desire, forgetting He is the originator of all of those dreams and desires in the first place.  But…maybe…quite possibly… He wants to take you back to the simplicity of being a child.