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Cartwheel


Easter is an exciting day in our house. Honestly though, pretty much every day is an exciting day in our house as I’m sure most of you can imagine. School book fairs, sunshine, RV shows; thrill absolutely abounds. It’s overwhelming at times. Easter does top the list in many ways because of the possibility of endless candy, dessert and extra Creekside time.


Which is why two Sundays ago, I was walking the ever-tenuous parenting line between sharing in their joy and keeping them regulated for society. Always humbled by my parenting mantra, “Are you parenting for reputation or relationship?”, I did eloquently instruct my boys “don’t go in there and run around like a bunch of crazy people; you’re in nice clothes.” Hey, we all fall short, folks.


I really shouldn’t have been at all surprised to come into the church right before the service started to find one of my children doing a CARTWHEEL IN THE AISLE. But I was surprised. I was very surprised. Too stunned to form any teaching-moment-questions, I just pulled him aside and asked, “What are you thinking?!” My boy responded, “I’m sorry Mama, it’s just I’m so excited for today!” I let him off the hook easily partly due to grace but mostly due to my low energy level at that point in the day.


During Easter service, I myself was caught up in the Holy Spirit’s beauty, joy and mercy upon us. My kids happily bounded back to their classes, and I reflected back on my reaction to the center aisle cartwheel. There really weren’t that many people around. No one got hurt. He was excited to be at church. I should probably tell him later that his joy is more important to me than his outfit.

I wish I could say that I immediately pulled my boisterous boy to the side after the service to more adequately explain my reaction to his antics and reinforce that though indoor cartwheels are always pretty risky at best, I do appreciate his overflowing joy on today of all days. I didn’t though. I forgot.


It wasn’t until I was chatting with another fellow Creeksider afterwards that I remembered. Because this sweet soul told me, “I was really not feeling it today. I had just prayed for God to change my attitude and then here comes your son just bounding down the aisle right before church started. I was like, ‘thanks, God!’” As I’ve said before, sometimes God whispers. Sometimes he yells.


Childhood is a funny thing. It’s one of the very rare things all of humanity has in common, but oddly enough most humans will say they can’t relate to kids. In my work, I’m often reading and learning about how crucial play is to childhood. As the most effective way children learn executive functioning skills until the age of 10-years-old, “un-adultified” play, sports, and free time is something my colleagues and I find woefully missing in our students’ lives. Ironically, what we spend a lot of our time doing is teaching kids how to be kids.


Last week at church, Debbie Taylor beautifully spoke about the language of lament and of its vital importance in our walk of faith. For better or for worse, lament was my first fluent language of faith. My early words of complaint matured in my early 20’s into those of lament as I processed difficult things and how those things could possibly relate to a loving God. Lament was crucial to my healing, my ability to relate to others, and my experience of joy.


The Lord has graciously given me a spirit of whimsy and wonder which has kept me from getting too sharpened by lament. I have cried tears of anguish while noticing the beauty of a still lake. Joy and lament go hand in hand, as childhood merges into adulthood. Sometimes we don’t know when the transition happens, but we sense it. We stop grieving as deeply or we stop playing pretend. As childhood comes and passes, so must lament. Let’s just be careful to not step over the joy.


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