Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 10, 2011
When I grow up I want to be a little boy.
Joseph Heller, author; on this date, 1961, his
satirical, anti-war novel “Catch 22” was published.
Canadians in 1961 didn’t hear much about American books. After all, it was before the Internet, etc. And we Canadians were being “patriotic”. I was 17 when I read “Catch 22”, in 1963. Being a little Gay Christian, I was opposed to war, and I loved the book ….. though with humility I have to say that unless I had been told beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have “got it”.
In one famous scene, Jesus tells his disciples that, unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And he tells Nicodemus the same thing: you have to be “born again” ….. in a sense, become a child again.
I am hoping, now that I am in my 66th year, that I am on the path to becoming “a little boy” again. I am so aware that decades of my Life have been consumed with all kinds of “stuff” - questioning, and reevaluating, and questioning, and doubting, and examining, and questioning, and formulating, and adjusting, and reshaping, and “sophisticating”, and abandoning.
The implication seems to be that children have an innate sense of Truth. Well ….. I’m not so sure I believe that. But I think I do believe this: that after decades of struggling with Life, we eventually can “let go” of the struggle. And then we can become “a little boy” or girl again. Not as we were then, but informed by our decades of engagement with all that Life is. I think the best way to approach Death, that great Mystery, is as a little boy or girl ….. looking at it all with the openness and wonder of childhood.
Start as early as you can! Let go as soon as you can of the cynicism and pain and closedness of heart, mind, and spirit. Expand! Meet Life with wonderment.
Grown-Ups who have come back die the best.