“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way.” John 14:1-4
I watched my children weave in and out of the trees. Green leafy spires stretched to the heavens while low twisty branches brushed the foliage of the forest floor. My children could see it immediately. The emerald walls, the secret doors, the windows that let in dancing rays of sunlight. There were many dwelling places in this tree house built by God. And each of my children knew it held a place prepared for them. Their imaginations ran wild, their laughter was joyful, their expressions were carefree. Everything about what they were doing proclaimed that their hearts were not troubled–that life was simple and a journey to be savored.
There are times when I feel a bit anxious that I won’t teach my children everything I want them to know before time runs out–before they decide I don’t really know what I’m talking about, or before they lose interest in what I think is important. Or before God calls me home.
But the other night, as I watched them personify the innocence of childhood, I realized that it’s not me who must do most of the teaching. It’s not my children who must do most of the learning. Rather, I am the student and they are the true masters. The masters of simple faith, of genuine love, and of pure hope.
I am blessed to witness every day this gift of childhood. I just have to take the time to slow down, to partake in their innocence, and to allow the truths in our hearts to speak to one another in ways that words and lessons will never be capable.
When my three-year-old son ran past me and said, “I’m part of your family,” his dancing eyes revealed a sense of something greater than his immediate, earthly family. Because that night in the trees, I was watching my children run through their heavenly mansions. I watched them dance with the saints and felt the love of God dwelling within them.
I will continue to form my children’s consciences with lessons, Bible stories, and prayer, but it is this feeling, this burning with love and desire for that which exists just past the capacity of our imaginations that I hope to learn from them.
Where Jesus is going, my children know the way. I just hope I am always wise enough to follow.