Last week some family came – Daughter Number 1 (Sarah), her husband (Simon) and Grandsons 1 and 2 (Joel and Luke). We pulled out some tourist books and maps and set off to see the Netherlands (well, part of them, anyway). We took a train to Leiden, saw some colourful bulb fields en route, climbed all the way to the top of a working windmill and all the way down again (backwards, down a ladder, for 6 floors – eek!), had a boat trip around the canals, ate lunch in a Pannenkoekenhuis… It was on the way back to the train station in Leiden that Joel (aged 4) posed the deep philosophical question: When can we stop having adventures? I didn’t want to make the same mistake as the mother whose child asked: Mummy, where did I come from? and who proceeded to explain in detail about the birds and the bees before her child added: A girl in my class said she came from England but I don’t know where I came from. Too much information or a deep philosophical answer was not needed here – so I just said: It’s ok. We are going home now. We went home and the boys spent the rest of the afternoon (and the next day) playing happily in our back garden, rolling on the grass, making ’delicious bug
stew’ and helpfully planting a row of dandelion heads in the flower border. Even though they had enjoyed the train ride and loved climbing the windmill, both boys found that adventures can be very demanding. This gave me some food for thought: going on a new adventure, entering a new phase of life, has been a wonderful experience and we can identify with CS Lewis’s answer to Joel’s question: You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. And yet, there are also times when we need to take a break from adventuring and enjoy the simpler things of life for a while. I expect that’s why Jesus said: Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. The wisdom of children is so profound!