I woke up really missing this little gal today. The older she gets, the longer the time seems between visits. This time really will be a long stretch, since we have Europe coming about the time I’d usually go, but it’s been only been 5 weeks since I’ve laid eyes on her, and it feels like 5 months.

Part of the problem, I think, is her understanding of the situation. She’s old enough to remember being here, and my being there. When she was a baby, she’d enjoy me while I was around, but then it was out of sight, out of mind. Today, it’s not just me missing her; it’s us missing each other.

And that breaks my heart.

There’s something about time with a child. With Lilli, everything is imagined. She creates a little world the way she wants it, with flying horses and doll house families, then dons a princess gown and tiara and plops herself in the middle of it. She invites you into that world (it’s especially helpful if you bring snacks) and commands you to “play, Mimmie! PLAY!” She learns how to resolve conflict through it, and how NOT to. She asks a lot of questions, and gets a better understanding of the world that’s not so make-believe. Her mind and heart are free and unencumbered, and she sleeps (when she chooses to) the slumber of a peaceful soul.

Don’t get me wrong. Little children are exhausting. They were when her momma and aunt were little, and they are (even more so) now. But I find that when Lilli and I are together, and I’m drawn into her world, there is a bit of grounding that takes place. Some crazy adult blinders seem to fall off my eyes, and the colors of the world seems fresh and crisp and new. The details of creation stand out in strong relief and the simplicity of life’s basics comes back into focus.

Her view is untainted by life.

Her view is as it should be.

If you have a little child in your proximity, today, first give out a little shout of thanks. Then, set aside weariness, frustration, and impatience, and just…play. Plop yourself down in the middle of their world; take a walk outside and take in creation from a pint-size view. You’ll find your heart and mind feeling lighter, and you’ll start to understand this world, and the next, in the way it was meant to be understood.

There is a simplicity that is reality when we shake off the dust from the grown-up universe, and exchange it for the peace-sealed promise of heaven. You just have to grab a child’s hand and let them show you. If you are like me, however, and don’t happen to have a child handy, I still recommend the playing. If you try really hard, you’ll remember how it’s done.

Oh, and it really helps to leave those old blinders inside, in favor of a tiara.


For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:2-5 MSG

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Matthew 19:14 NLT