Last night our oldest daughter had a heart-crushing, life-changing, moment of realization. Okay, so maybe she won’t remember it tomorrow, but on the drive home from church last night – it was heavy. Here is a brief recap of our conversation:
“Daddy, when am I going to turn 6?”
“Well hun, your birthday is in August, so you have about 9 more months left being 5.”
(moment of thoughtful silence)
“Daddy….(pause before asking a huge question) Am I always going to be younger than (cousin)???”
“Yes Addie, she’s almost two years older than you. Isn’t it nice to have someone you can learn from?” (putting positive spin, because I”m a rock star dad)
(sobbing almost uncontrollably now) “But that means, I’ll never be as old as (friend, old neighbor, friend, and one friend who is actually younger than her).”
The conversation went on between tears and sobs from there. She even cried on behalf of her sister, who would never be as old as she is. I love my daughter, but it was tough not to laugh a bit in the midst of it all. She was mourning the loss of an ability to age she never actually had.
How often do we find ourselves “chasing” those around us in ways that seem silly to God?
Especially as we move toward the Christmas season, it may be an important question to ask ourselves. How much of us celebrating the birth of our savior comes from how we see others celebrating, and how much from authentic celebration of Christ? How can we model simplicity, and pass on a way of celebrating to the generations after us that lightens their burden?
My daughter was caught up in “chasing” others in the realm of age, without realizing it could never happen. It wasn’t until she vocalized/named what she was doing, that she recognized the error of such thinking and was a bit crushed by it all.
Ending our silly chases may take on a similar form. It may take a moment of sitting still, and vocalizing/naming the ways we are “chasing” others, and other ways of living we were never meant to live up to. When we realize these things, it may crush us a bit to “mourn that loss”. But just as my daughter is now free to experience a relationship with her cousin and friends not based on ever needing to “catch up” with them…perhaps we will experience freedoms to celebrate Christ like never before!