Today I ate a pear for the first time in years.
I hold no grudges against the fruit, but just haven’t thought to buy or eat one since I was probably 10 years old. (There is relevance to this I promise, I hope.)
You know the feeling of nostalgia that sweeps over you in the most consuming and grand way when you’ve smelled or tasted something familiar? This was it. It was juicy and tart and only had half the sweetness of an apple; I was 10 years old again instead of 20, in a smaller home, a smaller place.
When I was in preschool, we had to draw a picture of ourselves in a dream, I suppose imagining ourselves through crayon in the best possible state we could be in. I only know this through the thickly-scribbled, waxy smelling portrait that has been taken hostage by a closet shoe drawer since. My image is gangly and lopsided and bears almost no resemblance to my former or current self, but I am eating a pear with a little speech bubble that declares “I love pares,” boldly and unaware of error.
The littlest wave of remembering and of reminiscing set my train of thought on the greatest spiral and I started thinking of being a child. How the heart of a child, of my own self as a child, is often so indicative of our future selves and aspirations. How the things we cling to and declare before we can properly read or write or cast judgments are often telling and truthful. The Lord declares these things over our lives, whether boldly or subtly, and reveals to us the paths for which we are destined over time and struggles and triumphs. I believe that He has woven in me desires and dreams and traits that are not far removed from the places I feel His hand steering me towards; 5, 10, 15 years in the future.
To have “faith like a child” is a command called out by the Lord in Matthew 18:3, so that we may enter the kingdom of Heaven. A phrase that beckons innocence and naivety, assuming that a child’s faith is composed entirely of wonder just as it is fear. But the latter verse continues on to say “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…” (Matt. 18:4). He calls us to a position of humility, but also capability. We are capable of removing ourselves from a state so often associated with adulthood of greed and self-centered intentions and return to a childlike state of wonder.
I am a child of the king. In the same way that I was at 5, 10, 15 years, and continually as my life progresses. As a child, I was far more independent than the places I have found myself spiraling into as I grow older. I lived more boldly, as children often do, but channeled my energy and joy for life into love rather than bottling it inside out of fear of being truly noticed and unappreciated.
Growing older has meant learning more about myself and the pieces God has tucked away into corners of my childhood. They have come up in the deepest dreams I carry to work with people, from my seven year old games of playing therapist with my cousins. They have appeared in the love I have learned to receive and give to those who battled chronic illnesses as children, similarly to myself. They have appeared in the truth I have sought through words, as I return to a love for sharing them with others.
The Lord lays these paths before each of us, whether in cobblestones or in miles. There is truth and reassurance to this, as Esther 4:14 states, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” He has established purpose when we were little girls, and has and will remind us of the purpose that lies in such a time as this.
The relevance of a fruit in a moment of reassurance and realization. That my habits and fears and desires and wildest dreams have all been a tiny piece of the road that has been since laid out behind and before me. I think that we (I know it to be too true for myself) don’t allow our childlike selves enough credit, enough space for those voices to shine through cracks of responsibility and structure and expectations we attempt to uphold. God made our childlike selves in His image, in the same way that our 18, 20, 25 year old selves are to bear the same.
Look at the dreams you carried as a child; at the fears, talents, boldness that encompassed every part of your being without hesitation. What was He revealing in that innocence, for a time like this? Maybe it will take a pear to remember your childlike self, or maybe it has been evident throughout. His plans have been wedged in the smallest, darkest places and will carry and sustain those dreams to their completion.
words by Erin McChurch and photo by Gretta Sheehan