My oldest Godson, Jackson was about 18 months old when he and his sister, Tamara, were sleeping over while their parents coped with a cancer diagnosis. I dropped Tamara off at school, and Jackson and I headed to one of my favorite hang out spaces—the outdoor labyrinth of a nearby church. I entered the area with my usual sense on sacred “awe.” Jackson entered the space with wide-eyed wonder. I always paused at the entrance of the labyrinth in reverence for the Holy that I encountered there and, quite frankly, to settle myself from the rush of carpooling, breakfast preparation, children gathering and the like. I took in a deep breath and before I could exhale I heard the Spirit say, “Today, he is your teacher.”
In the midst of my pausing and “awing,” Jackson had begun to traverse the path of the labyrinth, its borders outlined by mini evergreen shrubs neatly trimmed to guide the pilgrim on the journey. Jackson was leading the way. I noticed that, unlike me, Jackson would stoop down and observe the acorns that had fallen on the path. He played with the mulch and its texture under his feet. He strolled and allowed the beauty of nature to simply arrest his interest. Once caught, he would abruptly stop and pay full-bodied attention. He was in no hurry, there was no deadline to be conscious of, and Jackson was living fully present in the moment with all that was around him, creation and Creator.
We made the final turn and I sat on the wooden seating built around the trunk of the majestic oak anchoring the labyrinth’s center. Jackson was caught in the thrill of this space. As I watched him, the Spirit spoke again, “It’s not about the destination,” silence, “it’s about the journey.” That was my lesson taught by a little child almost 10 years ago, a lesson I remind myself of even today. The Scriptures say, “and the children shall lead them.”
Hang out with a child in nature and observe them. There is particularly something really cool about the 18- to 36-month old time frame. Perhaps free an overwhelmed mother for an afternoon.
How has God used the wonder of a child to teach you?
When have you been in such a rush that you missed their heart-presence to you and to Him?
Juanita Campbell Rasmus is an inspirational speaker, motivational teacher, author, and founding board member of the Bread of Life Homeless Project. Juanita and her husband Rudy co-pastor Saint John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.