As I was walking out of my professor’s room, tears clouded my eyes. An intense feeling of bitterness crept into my mind – “Why is it that I always stammer while expressing myself? Why do I create a buffoon picture of myself in front of others?” Embarrassment chained my motion so tight that I could not make a further step towards my classroom. “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk…” Never before in my life had I understood John Keats so well like today.
I dragged myself to my classroom completely shattered. The resonance of my failure was so strong, that every lecture that was being delivered went above my head. I had completely lost the rein of my own self. Tried hard to remember the words of my Parish Priest, “God has a perfect plan for you”. But somehow, my fractured soul was not willing to absorb such divine thoughts.
“Sweet Lord…” I cried, not letting my friends know what was happening to me, “I need you, come to my aid…” My faith was so strong that in every word that I uttered, I doubted if really the Son of God would come to my rescue! Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind, “Hey Anu! It’s first Friday. Why not surrender your present heavy cross to sweet Jesus and invite Him to be a part of it?” “Oh! That’s a great idea!” I thought to myself. “May be, Jesus is calling me to be a saint”, I chuckled. And unwillingly I surrendered “this cup of suffering” to my Lord, letting the seed of pride grow in me that I am going to be the next saint!
The ears of my soul were pulling me hard to listen to the voice of God. For a moment I inserted tight earplugs to the present lecture that was being delivered by my professor. Like a young and obedient daughter of my Abba Father, I prayed the words of Samuel, “Speak; your servant is listening”(1 Samuel 3:10).
A sudden electrifying current passed through every single cell of my body – “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). My mind was unable to capture what my Lord was trying to say. The relation between the ‘children’ and my present problem was becoming a bit confusing for my mind to understand.
Like Nicodemus, I asked Him. “How can a grown man be born again? He certainly cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time!” (John 3:4). Sweet Jesus passed a gentle smile and said, “Be quiet and listen to me, and I will teach you how to be wise” (Job 33:33). Once again I let my Lord take control of my poor and ignorant self. I was ready to undertake the adventurous journey piloted by Captain Jesus.
“A thing of beauty, is a joy forever.” A thought which often crosses our mind when we see a smiling child. A child is a repository of divine magnitude, a being that is able to rejuvenate and lift our thoughts. But what is the significance or similarity between a ‘child’ and ‘the Kingdom of God’?
When we study the Bible, we find our resurrected Christ addressing the distressed disciples by saying, “Peace be with you” (John 20:20). A ‘peace’ that overpowers and lifts us from the present momentary, superficial and clinging problems of our day today life. Very remarkably, ‘the Kingdom of God’ is completely filled with this ‘divine peace’.
When we try to probe deep into the concept of ‘the Kingdom of God,” we understand that it is in fact a state of mind that Jesus is calling us to be in. A position where we are to master and control our emotions and let the fragrance of ‘peace’ be so full in us that it spreads far and wide and touches every soul that bounces into us. This is what the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ teaches us in chapter 5 that the ‘shadow’ of St. Peter healed many sick.
Psychology teaches us that man is at peace when he is secure. The utmost urge to be secure makes him believe that only an independent mind can be at peace. This further makes him more ambitious. An ambitious and perfect man creates a utopian world of his own. He loves to live in a castle built of cards which is easily shattered by a sudden gentle breeze. He is in a mess as he is unable to trace that peace and security that he had once treasured in life.
The attitude of a ‘child’ is quite different from the man explained above. The complete dependence of a child towards its parents makes it free from its own self. The freedom that it experiences is exactly the ‘peace’ or ‘the Kingdom of God’ that Jesus talks about. This gives him or her the opportunity to grow every day. He is ready to make mistakes and learn from the follies of his life. A child is not like “Raymond, the complete man”, but like a pot in the hands of a skilled potter, ready to be moulded and shaped once again. Thus, only a child can enter the Kingdom of God!
Suddenly, I realized what a sophisticated bubble I was! The embarrassment of my failure was like a sharp pin that pricked me and burst the self in me. The deep rooted ego was not allowing me to accept my blunder gracefully. I had to change the attitude towards my life. My Lord opened the eyes of my heart and sowed the rich seed in me, “For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles will be made great” (Luke 14:11). It was the childlike humility that I needed to experience the Kingdom of God.
No man is perfect. We are prone to make more errors and come across many embarrassing situations in our life. But let not these situations be a part of our system. With the Lord let’s face every situation in our life with courage and give the hidden ‘child’ in us an opportunity to get up and grow once again. This is what our Lord wants us to do – to be a child and enter the kingdom of God.
It’s always best to be a helpless child in the hands of our Lord, than be a matured and fully grown up adult left out all alone. “Just as a bird hovers over its nest to protect its young, so I, the Lord Almighty, will protect Jerusalem and defend it” (Isaiah 31:5). We need to tune our attitude with that of our Lord. This gives us a better vision of our life. We’ll be able to see the wonderful things happening around us, because we are not seeing through our eyes, but, through the divine eyes of our Lord. “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the wonderful things you have done” (Psalm 9:1).
Let us pray: Sweet Jesus, we have often ignored the innocent child in us and encouraged the adult in us bloom in its complete form. It was our pride that made us believe that the mistakes, follies and embarrassing situations are a forbidden zone in one’s life. Abba Father, give us one more chance, for we must grow up once again. Bring back our lost and endearing smile on our faces. We are going to be yours and only yours, and experience your Kingdom like a sweet child. Amen.
– – – written by Anu Siby, Kolkota