Last Friday I had an opportunity to take the son of some good friends of ours with me for an afternoon at the Bluebonnet Swamp. They are basically family to us, so he is like a nephew to me. I was looking forward to the afternoon for several weeks, since we first discussed the possibility. He is always a lot of fun. He is a very smart boy, and, frankly, you never know what he is going to say. However, the truth is, I really felt like I was doing something for him more than he would be doing anything for me. He loves bugs and critters and wildlife, and had never been to the Bluebonnet Swamp. This was an opportunity for me to share something with him that he was sure to love. Little did I know how much I would learn from him!
Even though I love casually strolling along the path through the swamp and woods when I go by myself, for some reason I felt compelled to move along more quickly with my buddy there. I guess I wanted to be able to show him all there is to see. To put it simply – he went at a much slower pace. At first, I felt a bit frustrated. As Willy Wonka put it, “There’s so much time and so little to see! Strike that. Reverse it.” I had to remind myself we were really there for him, not for me. Once I got that into my head, I was able to really learn from him. He was not driven by some arbitrary compulsion to see “everything.” He was led by a simple curiosity to really see the things before him. Off the path here. Off the path there. Walk out on a log. Pick apart a rotten part of a tree in search of bugs and grubs and such. Spend twenty minutes passionately trying to catch a leopard frog. Savor the victory of catching the slippery little fella. Grieve the agony of him wriggling free to his muddy home. Take pictures of everything! Ladybugs. Snakes. Humongous skinks. Cool black and red lubber grasshoppers. Take your time. Notice everything.
Many times I have made my way out to the Bluebonnet Swamp to spend time one on one with God in the silence. I didn’t realize God would show up with skin on this Friday afternoon to recapture my sense of wonder for His creation. Through this amazing fourth grader, He reminded me of the wonderful adventure of curiosity.
And at McDonald’s, He reminded me that kids have an incredible gift for saying totally shocking things without having a clue they are saying shocking things.
Thanks, God for teaching me such great lessons on Friday. And thanks to my buddy for sharing such a great afternoon with me. It was a day to remember!