Not long ago, I needed to water some plants in my backyard. Mia, my granddaughter, was over for a visit and she wanted to help. I felt a little bit like Tom Sawyer, handing that hose over to her, but I didn’t have to convince her that it wasn’t every day that a child had a chance to water plants.
She took the job on with a smile. I gave her instructions on where to point the water.
But like most new things, it wasn’t long that the novelty wore off and she said, “Here P-Paw. You do it.”
She was hot and tired of the heat, so she began to make her way to the house.
She was about halfway there when I turned the hose in her direction. To her delight, it rained a few drops on her head. “Do it again,” she said. It rained some more. “Do it again,” she said. This exchange continued until she got an idea of her own.
She wanted to have control of the water hose. When she turned it in my direction, she laughed even harder. But it didn’t just rain; it flooded on me.
As I danced around trying to escape her surprisingly good aim, I was caught up in her laughter and the joy of the moment as I got wetter and wetter. It was pure joy, innocent, spontaneous, and playful.
After a while, she realized that I might be having more fun getting wet than she was using the hose, so she handed the water hose back to me and asked me to turn it on her. Before our fun in the sun was over, we were both soaked from head to toe.
Children permit us to free ourselves from clocks, schedules, norms, routines, and all the seriousness of life that we tend to live in all the time. They are not bound by these things, which are not bad in themselves, but they can place such a straightjacket on us that any hint of spontaneity, play, rest, and joy can be sucked right out of us.
Once Jesus went to the home of Martha and Mary, friends of his. Martha was busy getting the meal ready for Jesus and was frustrated with her sister because he had sat herself down at the feet of Jesus (a Rabbi), and was enjoying listening to him teach.
In those days, women were not allowed to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. For Mary, this was pure joy, a rare privilege. The meal could wait.
Martha was bound by duty, feeding her guest, getting the food on the table on time, and she was frustrated because she was getting no help from her sister. Finally, she could hold her tongue no longer.
“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40b-42 NIV).
I’ve been Martha far too much in my life. Perhaps my granddaughter can teach me how to be Mary a little more often.
Wet clothes can always dry, and the memories of laughter of a grandfather and a grandchild dancing in the “rain” can last a lifetime. The joy these moments create can’t be taken away from us.
Photo Credit: gardenerspath.com