BIG KID ON TOUR
I’ve always been someone to seek adventure – as a kid I’d love nothing more than to go ‘exploring’ with my brothers – inevitably being coaxed to climb higher, swim further and ride faster in pursuit of, well at that age not a lot…fast forward 30ish years and I find myself in a ‘grown up’ job and with a variety of responsibilities – I’m inclined to making sensible decisions and sometimes taking myself too seriously!
Recently I had the privilege of travelling for a month with 18 teenagers and 5 other adults across Indonesia, the young people were on a ‘Journey of a Lifetime’ and had all fought battles of one kind or another – either with physical disability and/or from backgrounds of disadvantage (see www.jolttrust.org.uk for further details). One day about 20 days into the journey we took a trek into the jungle. It took us far longer to get to our destination than anticipated, lunch turned out to be fish heads and rice, then the heavens opened and the jungle turned into a steaming, insect infested mud bath. With time against us we needed to ‘haul’ several of the young people out by running with carry seats up a slippery path in a torrential downpour. I personally was drenched right through, legs covered in thick mud, about as far from respectable and serious as is possible. We got to the top and all of our young people were singing and cheering us on, dancing in the rain, not a care in the world, we were a team and we had accomplished our goal for the day. For a split second I nearly slipped into serious mode, thinking about how long it was still going to take us to get back to our accommodation, how filthy dirty I was and the lack of a hot shower…and then I starting bouncing around with the rest of them, baseball cap on back to front, singing stupid songs (Who knew the popularity of ‘What does the fox say?’!) and revelling in the joy that this crazy monsoon rain was giving these precious young people. On another occasion I found myself jumping around pretending to be a chicken – again I almost stopped – embarrassed by making a fool of myself – imagining what my work colleagues or my patients would say – but something made me carry on – relinquishing all dignity in the process!
Maybe there’s nothing quite like travelling with 23 others to ensure that your feet are truly on the ground but the bible teaches that we are to ‘become like little children’. I’m sure that refers to having a childlike accepting faith but I think it probably also means not getting ahead of yourself, thinking that you are too grown up, smart or clever for the simple pleasures in life. Becoming like a little child before God may mean different things for all of us; it may mean laughing in the rain when our make up runs, jumping up and down in worship or reading by torchlight under the bedclothes, maybe its dropping the guard of cynicism, or letting out a whoop of joy when we see a beautiful sunset. Whatever it is for you, in the seriousness and challenges of this life lets not forget to be big kids – just a little bit each day.