Plymouth Park UMC Staff Blog

Take Each Other As We Are: November 2017

November 6, 2017

Pastor Bill La BarrAccept Each Other and our Inner Child

So my bouncing baby boy, who will be 38 in November (I was 12 when he was born!), told me that for his bouncing baby boy’s second birthday he would like for me to have “experiences” with him. My grandson had plenty of toys and clothes, Aaron explained to me. What he needed was time with his grandpa.

Aaron did not know either of his grandfathers, and it’s important to him that his sons know theirs. Therefore, I took the opportunity afforded to me last month to spend some time in the company of my 4-month-old and 2-year-old grandsons, sharing with them “experiences” of Grandpa.

With Jameson, the baby, the “experience” was more along the lines of feeding and holding him. I don’t know how much Jameson appreciated the time together, but Grandpa was pretty satisfied.

Time with Emerson, the just turned 2-year-old, was more active. We played in the yard with the lawn tractor and a big ball. He blew bubbles and threw rocks and played in his sandbox. I read a new book to him, Ten Wriggly, Wiggly Caterpillars, and we counted from 10 to none as we learned about the caterpillars’ adventures in the garden. Emerson crawled into my lap and I counted his ribs, always a segue to laughter. And that was just Friday afternoon! On Saturday, the whole family, including Grandpa, went to a huge pumpkin patch in the country.

Grandpa’s job during this excursion was 1) to take pictures for Grandma, 2) to push the baby’s stroller and 3) to try and corral Emerson as he ran from place to place. The highlight of the day was the bounce house experience. Except it wasn’t really a bounce house — it was a bounce “bladder” about 30-by-50 feet wide and about 4 feet tall in the domed center.

Emerson was the smallest kid on the thing so he just bounced along with everyone else. The adventure began when they blew the whistle to change the kids.

Everyone got off, except Emerson. His mother and I were calling him to come down but his response was “No!” (Did I explain that he’s now in his “terrible twos” and the term “No!” showed up on his birthday?) Anyway, he refused to come down, and with all the other kids off, he was having a grand time by himself. Finally, ole Grandpa was tasked with the job of retrieving him.

The underlying complication of this story is that since having rheumatic fever 28 years ago, I have very little balance or freedom of movement from my waist down. I can’t play volleyball anymore, or softball. I can’t snow ski or ride a bicycle or a motorcycle. I can play golf (because the ball is not moving when you hit it), and I walk. Grandpa does best when his feet are firmly planted on terra firma! Climbing up that air-filled bladder was not firm ground! I didn’t think I was going to make it up there, and when I did reach the top Emerson decided that was opportunity to play “chase” with him running around and me chasing. When he finally decided to come down, I thought I was going to do a swan dive right onto my face in the gravel. The 70 or so young parents and little kids who witnessed this thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen! I’m surprised it hasn’t shown up on YouTube.

We are entering the seasons of children. Halloween is a great time for little kids to dress up, and for adults to have fun with the things that scare us. Thanksgiving is a time to remember and give thanks for the many blessings of each and every day. Advent and Christmas are the seasons when we observe that God’s great promise to humankind of God’s “presence” — spending time with us — was realized in a baby boy. With the headlines of each day’s newspaper, God’s promise becomes more and more important to me.

Jesus says that if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven we must become humble as children. I have shared with you that “humility” is not the personality attribute that immediately comes to mind when I think of little children. “Raging narcissism” is their personality trait of choice.

However, I think that Jesus is trying to suggest that we are to take each other as we are: no pretense, no illusions, no expectations of greater glory — like 2-year-olds in the pumpkin patch. Just accept each other and our inner child for the children we once were and yet long to be. I’m looking forward to the holidays.

See you in church!
Bill La Barr's signature

Micah 6:8

...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?