by Terry Magness
Have you ever lain on your back and watched the clouds form pictures in the sky, listened to the soulful sound of a train whistle blowing in the distance, snuggled with a stuffed animal, or napped with a pet, satisfied that all is right with the world?
Have you ever listened to the tree frogs or crickets on a warm spring night, lost yourself in a good book on a cloudy afternoon, watched a bee flit from one flower to another gathering the makings of their golden nectar and pollinating God's garden? Have you ever followed a colony of ants carrying weights much heavier than they, yet keeping perfect form one with another?
Have you ever smelled a rose or picked a daisy, made a clover chain, or blown wispy dandelion seeds into the wind? Have you ever run through a sprinkler on a blistery summer day, rolled in the warm green grass, or popped glistening soap bubbles carried on gentle breezes, gazed in wonder upon a 4th of July sparkler and wished it would last forever?
Looking up at the night sky, have you tried to count the stars, or marveled at the vastness of the Milky Way, or questioned how the Big Dipper knows to point to the North Star? Have you slipped your toes into the cool refreshing waters of a placid pool or tossed pennies into a fountain, strolled through a park still wet with morning dew, or watched young squirrels chase one another through overhanging branches? Have you mimicked a monkey at the zoo, pet a beetle ambling through the dirt, or watched lightning bugs glow in a jar?
Have you caught your breath at a cat’s astounding acrobatics? Has a mockingbird’s rhapsody prompted you to really listen? Have you been rocked to sleep by the cooing lullaby of a dove, or been caught off guard by the course, throaty call of a crow? Have you been captivated by the amazing maneuvers of the tiny hummingbird, the beauty and swiftness of a red-tailed hawk, or the proud majesty of an eagle soaring high among the clouds? Have you ever touched plush moss clinging to the north side of a tree, collected colored leaves in the fall, or smelled the rich fragrance of honeysuckle and sucked the sweet juices from its flower on a warm summer day? Have you roasted marshmallows over an open fire and burned them...on purpose?
Have you hugged a child or kissed a baby? Have you picked a bouquet of pretty weeds for someone dear, or colored a picture to give to your teacher? Have you ever explored the delight of cotton candy melting in your mouth, sticking to your cheeks and hair? Have you ever played dress up, paper dolls and Barbies, hopscotch, double jump rope, or jacks? Have you ever roller skated or ridden a bike and had the exhilarating feel of the wind in your face? Did you play "King of the Hill", cowboys and Indians, trucks, or Matchbox cars? Have you collected sparkly gravel in mason jars, bitten your toenails, stuck bubble gum on your nose and looked at it cross-eyed?
Have you ever waded in a creek, skipped rocks across the water, caught a fish on a pole or a crawdad in a food strainer? Have you climbed a tree or chased butterflies, made bucket-mounds in the sand, squished mud between your fingers and toes, slipped the food you did not like to the dog under the table, or startled your mom with a frog—and she said the frog would give you warts? Have you ever sneaked a cookie out of the cookie jar, or cut your own bangs? Ever taken a walk in your own back yard just to see what you might see?
Life is full of wonder...adventure...beauty...discovery...and fun! Awareness and reception are mostly notable in childhood. Perhaps that is why Jesus said to come to Him as a little child. A child freely experiences, trusts, learns, and enjoys. We mature; yet remaining childlike in heart assures we continue to grow in knowledge and wonder, and to enjoy and rejoice in the beautiful God-given stuff of life that keeps us smiling and forever young.
Terry has been in Christian ministry for nearly fifty years, is a licensed minister, author, pastoral counselor to church leaders, missionary, and founder of Grace Harbour Ministries, a Bible-based international teaching and discipleship ministry to women. She oversees and teaches needs-based Overcomer classes in her local church, dedicated to helping men and women apply Biblical principles to life situations. Terry is a lover of people in general, and her family in particular. She enjoys good friends, stimulating conversation, writing, photography, and fishing with her husband, Don.
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