“Where’s Daddy gone?”
“Dunno. Said something about going to see someone.”
“Didn’t he ask us to go with him?”
“I’m old enough to decide what I want to do.” I polish my shoes, check my hair in the mirror and put on my new coat. “You coming with me?”
“O–K.” Pete also gets himself ready. “Did you tell Daddy where you were going?”
“To the woods.”
“We could go down to the river for a swim. No one would notice.”
“That would be lying. Daddy would be horrified.”
We set off down the dirt track between the autumnal trees.
“Hey! Look out! It’s muddy there. Daddy doesn’t like us to get our shoes dirty.”
Pete scowls and jumps over the puddle he was about to splash through, then dashes off when he sees some mushrooms.
“They’re probably poisonous,” I shout. “Hasn’t Daddy warned you often enough how dangerous they can be? Come back here or you’ll tear your clothes on those brambles. Daddy wouldn’t like that.”
A colourful holly bush attracts Pete’s attention. As he takes out his penknife, I’m just in time to stop him cutting off a sprig. “That’s stealing! How many times has Daddy told you not to do that?”
And so it continues.
Is that what St Paul meant when he wrote: “May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again”? I question if it’s realistic to hope for no health problems, no emotional wounds, no crises of faith for the rest of our lives, or even if that should be our aim.
If a Christian life looks like how those lads are living, it sounds rather miserable.
Is it perhaps more like a little boy happily scrambling through the woods but keeping an eye on where his Daddy is going, and chatting all the time about the flowers and acorns he gathers; and when he scratches his knee, his Daddy comforts him, cleans the wound and says nothing about the dirty shoes; and then suggests they might go for a swim in the river, if he’d like that?