LOVE THE LITTLE CHILDREN
Mary Ellen Mann, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Denver, tells this interesting story about her experience at home that changed her attitude and life. She said that while picking up the clutter around her house one day, she noticed a photo of herself when she was around 20 months old. I had fallen behind a bookcase. She wasn’t particularly fond of the photo because she didn’t think it was the cutest one of her at that age.
At the time the photo was taken, her parents lived in New York City. She pulled the photo out from behind the bookcase and found herself drawn into the picture. She tried to remember what she was thinking. Was she doing such a good job sitting still, while the photographer had her sit on a chair? She knew from her Mom that she started walking when she was only nine months old and was already potty-trained. She was about to meet her new brother, too. Mary Ellen looked at her little-girl eyes, and wondered what she liked to do in those days. How she loved going to the Karl Schurz Park nestled on Manhattan’s East Side. She decided to take the picture up to her bedroom and placed it on her nightstand. She wasn’t sure what she would do with it eventually.
As she looked at this picture of her 20-month self one night, a rush of surprising feelings came over her. She thought about the life she had been given. Her purpose and presence on this earth. A rush of tears streamed down her face. All she could do at first was apologize to herself in the picture. She told her that she should have taken better care of herself growing up. She should have listened the small girl inside of her, and dignified her with more respect and honor. After all, she was responsible for how this tiny girl turned out. She should have been more considerate to this little lady than to exposed her to certain compromises and mistreatment. Oh my, she said to herself, it’s a long list. She felt her miniature self looking at her, saying, “It’s about time. I’ve needed you.” How many times had her good friends, the needs of her children, and her loving husband told her relax and take better care of herself?
What happened next was simple. She kissed the photo and held it close to her chest. She felt her sweetness, her energy, her pure heart. And she heard God say, “Tell her you’ll take care of her from now on.” She pushed the photo out to get a better look and staring the baby girl’s face kissed her again and said, “I’m going to look out for you. I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to make room for you to live and be loved. I see your pure, devoted heart. I’m so proud of you. I’m so grateful for you. I enjoy you, and I’m so fortunate to be the one that loves you.”
What washed over me, Mary Ellen said, was some sort of deeper confidence and resolution, an empowerment that I didn’t know was missing. I was her, before I was anything else – a therapist, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Jesus’ statement to love God and then to love others as I love myself was no longer some mystery or confusion. It was straight, simple and freeing. Now, no matter what she is doing, Mary Ellen tells her little self, “Everything I do, I do for Jesus and you. I won’t forget you again, ever!
You may never have had an experience like Mary Ellen’s. But what we all have in common is that little child still living in us. In fact, that’s why you see 80-year old’s sometime act like kids! However, there’s another little child living in our memory, that is when we were new Christians. We just experienced the joy of being born again in Jesus. The question is, have we been true to that little child’s dreams as we grew in Christ? Have we kept the promises we made? Did we faithfully stay on the path God placed us on? Are we today what that little new Christian within us always wanted to be?
Only you can answer those questions. However, of this you can be sure, Jesus is the same Jesus today who redeemed us; God is the same Father who welcomed us into His family, and the Holy Spirit is the same comforter and counsellor He was when He drew us to the cross for salvation. Maybe we need to take a look at ourselves and determine that His help we will keep those promises we made to the Father as long as we shall live. – Dr. Robert R Seyda