First off, I have to say that I love kids. They also drive me nuts, but more importantly, I admire the pure hearted enthusiasm that is only found within a child. It’s amazing and eye opening.
The other day I went to get some books from the library. As I made my way through the assortment of shelves, I noticed these two little boys. They must have been three and four years old. Wide eyed and excited, they walked through the children’s section like they had found the most magical place in all of existence. I chuckled to myself and moved on to find the books I had placed on hold. As I was checking out, I heard one of the most passionate expressions I have ever heard. “Spy-dow man! IT’S SPY-DOW MAAAN!” Bewildered, I turned to see what happened. These two little boys had found a display case with Spiderman memorabilia, complete with actions figures, comic books, and a few posters. Oh, but it was much more than that! They approached this holy relic with such reverence, awestruck by what stood before them. When I waked past it, I didn’t even notice what it was. But for them, it represented a sense of wonder, excitement, and magnificence. This one beautiful thing represented all that was good and fun.
This was without a doubt, one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Then something struck me. Do I have that kind of enthusiasm for life? It’s weird how experiences like this can open your eyes. Children are so unashamedly passionate about life. They find the things they love and are so consumed by them, that they don’t mind causing a scene. The commotion is worth it. Perhaps it even deserves it.
I fear that sometimes as adults, we have lost this sense of wonder. As kids we spend our time dreaming of growing older so can finally reach our destiny. Deep down in our hearts, we just know that someday, we will slay dragons, wield light sabers, and go on the most incredible adventures. But sadly, as we grow up, we begin to lose this hope. Instead of dragons, it’s the presentation at work that we hope to slay. Instead of light sabers, it’s a measly laser pointer. The problems of adulthood tend to get in the way. What happened to Spiderman and saving the princess? It’s forgotten as it gets buried under the weight of paying bills, managing relationships, and other ‘adult-y’ things. Life used to be filled with passion for what was ahead. Now, I just want to come home and lay on my couch. I’m tired and… that’s about it, I guess.
Though our imaginations were filled with mythical things like wizards and spaceships, there is still something true in the heart of these things. The adventure is still real. It’s out there. It’s just a little different than what we thought it would be. C.S. Lewis in his forward to his book The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe tells his goddaughter that though she is probably too old for this book now, he hopes that “… some day you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” Lewis is getting at something very important to the human heart. There is something vital in these stories that we cannot give up. Life can be a magical adventure, if you want it to be. You just can’t lose that sense of wonder. We need to ask ourselves, “What is my Spy-dow man? Have I lost it?” I fear that too many of us have. If so, that’s okay. It can be found again. Your heart can be rescued.
I encourage you, no, I beg you. Cling to that childlike fascination that you had as a kid. It’s an important part of your soul. Without it, you’re no longer on an adventure; you’re just enduring a list of obligations. Ultimately it comes down to this. At the end of this life, do you want to look back and say that you just got by? Or, do you want to look back and say, “Wow. What a magical adventure.” I hope you refuse to give into “growing up” and embrace the adventure.