Monday, August 19, 2013

Ageless Wonder

My son and his wife are good sports. They are staying with us a few days before they move into their new life in Richmond with my son as a working lawyer. We were trying to figure out what to do with our day, when Karissa asked me whether I had ever done any sculpture.
"Sure," I told her, "I have sculpted with Sculpey Clay. Would you like me to teach you how?"
So Matt and Karissa both settled down with me, and our Sculpey clay, and I taught them how to make penguins. They were very attentive and earnest, and it reminded me of when I used to teach my son when he was just a little boy. He always loved art, and listened very attentively to my instruction then as well. As he grew older, he grew more frustrated with the results of his artistic endeavors, and then, as far as I knew, gave them up altogether.
"This looks like something I will be frustrated with," he said, when I showed him the prototype penguin I had quickly constructed.
"No you won't," I promised, "I'll show you step by step. It's easy."

And they followed me carefully, my brilliant son and daughter-in-law, and they made adorable penguins. I think my son was surprised that his penguin turned out so well. I baked the creations in the oven, and made Matt and Karissa pose for photos of them with their penguins. I loved teaching them, and watching their concentration and efforts creating the little whimsical creatures. It fills my heart with delight to see anyone being transported by creativity, but especially to see in my grown son a reflection of the exuberant little boy I remembered, so intensely present in the activity. I pictured him as a child as though it were yesterday.

The child is father of the man....

I remembered a poem I had memorized long ago, by William Wordsworth:


My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

I am not certain I know what the poem means, but I have always loved it. When I watched my Matt, with his focused attention on the tiny details of his penguin, my young man on the brink of his law career, I thought of how all he was as a man, I had seen as tiny kernels when he was a boy. How gracious of God to show us the circle of life, the man in the boy and the boy in the man, and the rainbow in the sky that reflects our ageless wonder and covenant with God.


Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:28 NIV)

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13 NIV)

-save a dog-

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