Dear God, When Will I be An Adult?
There is so much child left in me that sometimes I feel like I’m masquerading as an adult.
Some days are so discouraging that I could wring the angst and depression from them like the sopping wet dishtowel that I swipe over my kitchen counters. When I was a child I snapped open my eyes, somersaulted out of bed and hugged each day as hard as I could. When bad things happened, I would cry as quickly as a summer thunderstorm and slide down the rainbows that always appeared afterward. Now that I am an adult, I consider, cry, calculate, and reconsider. Isn’t that is what adulthood is all about- responsibility, reconsidering and reality?
Now that I am an adult, I have a laundry list litany of the reality and responsibility of being adult. The adult me works, raises my family, seeks, finds, and enjoys meaningful activities. Now that I’m an adult, I spend my days striving to be positive, productive, and proactive. Some days I want to pull the covers over my head and be a cave troll all day. Some days I just want to figuratively and literally play the flute. Some days I just want to wallow in bouquets of accomplishment and adulation and not have to distribute and dispose of them. Other days, the good things of life crowd around me and I feel mature, responsible, and able to hurdle lightning bolts.
Some days I feel adult enough to play the “what if” game. What if the world were really a good place for everyone, not just a select few? Isn’t peering out of the tunnels of ourselves and our pocketbooks and wanting good things for others part of adulthood? What if I could turn down the volume of my emotions enough to hear the still, small voice of others and hear Your still, small voice? When I was a child, I heard the grass growing. Dandelion seeds whispered stories of world travel to me, and chipmunks told funny jokes every morning at the bird feeder.
Now that I am an adult, the voices I usually hear implore me to water or feed them or tell me the latest atrocities that the neighborhood skunks have committed. Is being an adult hearing different stories from the small voices? Should my adult hearing be more selective through necessity or more expansive through understanding? Should I repress the acute hearing of my childhood?
Every adult has to blaze a careful trail through a forest of relationships and feelings. When I was child I wore my feelings wrapped around me like the red plaid cape that I loved so much I wore it to school when the temperature dipped below 80 degrees. Almost every day I used my full repertoire of emotions and then tucked them away safely behind “Now I lay me down to sleep,” ready for the next day. Now, I should be a self controlled, non-dramatic adult. Every day, I snap the adult facade into place, but people, places, and things chip away at it like rain, sometimes acid rain, and I seep through. Often, after watching a tie-dye sunset on the beach or hearing an “I love you, mom” my uncontrolled emotions burst through!
“Don’t be so sensitive,” my mother often admonished me when I was a child. I couldn’t help it, because the world teemed with sensitivity. The old couple next door helping each other down the stairs, the boy down the block with the beautiful brown eyes, my best friend three houses down and our weekly sleepovers- these were sensitivities. Other sensitivities were not so good. The smell of my grandfather’s many beers, my grandmother’s crying, my girlfriend the next street over with a dark secret-these, too, were sensitivities. Now that I am an adult, I try not to be “so sensitive,” but sometimes events poke and prick that sensitivity. The murder of a child, the murder of anyone, hunger, disease, people suffering, global warming, indifference to others- the list of sensitivities is as circular as the world. Should adults heed more selective sensitivities, but still heed them?
There is so much child left in me that sometimes I feel like I’m masquerading as an adult. Thank You for adulthood, but I don’t ever want to grow up enough to lose my trust, wonder, and worship of You and the world filled with childhood and adult opportunities that You have given us.