When I was this little kid and my mom was teaching me the Lord’s Prayer I found one part to be a little ‘off.’
“Give us this day our daily bread” sounded to me far too bossy a thing to being saying to God. And so I would stop just after that part and add, “and we’ll take it.” I didn’t want God to feel that He was just blindly giving stuff into the void. I wanted him to know I would be there, all set to receive this food and chow down on it.
I was three when I had those thoughts, and on this, the day I turn 68, I find that with each passing year I more vividly remember the child I was then: in this autumn picture above; and in my little sunsuit playing in the grass one early June morning;
I was simple back then. I remember being simple. I also remember loving absolutely everyone, from my stuffed dog Pinky, to my mom and grandfather, from hero of a big sister to the aunts and the uncles and the cousins. I prayed for them all when I knelt down by the bed each night to say my “God blesses,” as my big sister and I called them.
Today, I see how much I changed as the years passed. For almost a decade, from the age of about 12 to the age of 21, I thought that knowing things was the big goal, because if you knew things you could maybe succeed in life, and also nobody could make you feel dumb at a party. I could habe gone down that road forever had I not found myself, September of my 22nd year, standing before a class of high school kids as their teacher.
The kids were so lively and comical – but inquisitive and serious too. Plus they had such wonderful questions: about God and sex; about an adult world that seemed to them founded entirely on principles of hypocrisy; about the key question of how much a person should or could do for others without spending down his or her own stores. (There’s a question I still struggle with!)
So yes, I changed a lot in those teaching years and then changed even more when my husband and I had a couple of children. My happiness was simply tied to theirs…
…and that was even before that third child arrived. Before the pets arrived. Before our old folks began needing us more and more. And well, after a while, I came to see that life wasn’t about knowing a lot of stuff at all.
So here I am all these years later, just happy to be going for another spin around that old sun. This wonderful Jesse Winchester tune sung by Jimmy Buffet pretty much sums it up for me here.