"Reject the worldly lie that says life lies always up ahead
Let power go before control becomes a crust around your soul
Escape the hunger to possess and soul diminishing success
This world is full of narrow lives,
I pray by grace your smile survives."
This photo along with the lyrics from Michael Card reminded me of a response Paul Young made to me a few years back in a conversation about simplicity and how the ravaged path this world offers brings much complexity to our lives and squeezes the simplicity out. The journey is to be a move back towards simplicity.
"It seems that the world takes children and makes adults out of them, and then the Spirit enters these adults lives with the intent of making children of them again. A healthy child lives in the present, not the past and the future is hardly considered. A healthy child doesn't know (yet) that they are valued based on some standard of performance. (The world system does have a 'grace period' for children, but even that seems to be getting shorter and shorter). A healthy child does not keep destructive secrets. A healthy child lives in wonder and fun and creativity.
The world comes and crushes the child into it's pre-set molds of performance and piles complexity upon complexity. Then when we as intelligent and sophisticated adults come to the reality of the Spirit we want to bring to it all the same ways of thinking that we have now been trained into. But a child? How complex is conversation, is sharing, is loving, is having fun, is being with someone, is trusting, is not being ashamed, is receiving forgiveness and asking for it, is moving on from mistakes, is laughing and dancing.
The realm of independence 'is' the realm of performance 'is' the realm of complexity."
It feels like such a daily fight against the pressures that press in on us adults and also our children/young adults. The struggle is jacked up even more by the reality that most people, even though they might feel it, really don't seem to feel the need to pay close enough attention so as to recognise the threat in order to live free of the controlling external soul diminishing pressures. And even if they do, it seems most feel powerless to do anything about it.
It also seems that the trend of young adults not wanting to grow up/but wanting to grow up too fast at the same time continues to swell. The warning signs are all around us that something is wrong but as Walter Brueggemann says..."we are ambivalent about disengaging and relinquishing the failed script, because we are indeed well-off, comfortable, and by any standards better off than most of the world can imagine." It's seems to be quite a quandary. A world that sets out to squeeze kids into it's mold...kids not wanting to grow up based upon what they have seen of it by watching the adults around them looking and acting like angry-frustrated-exhausted-walking dead. Which brings me to another observation shared by Anne Lamott in her book Plan B
"My friend Mark, who works with church youth groups reminded me recently that Sam doesn't need me to correct his feelings. He needs me to listen, to be clear and fair and parental. But most of all he needs me to be alive in a way that makes him feel he will be able to bear adulthood, because he is terrified of death, and that includes growing up to be one of the stressed-out, grey-faced adults he sees rushing around him."
For us adults to be here for anyone else and be a help to them, including our children, we need to be alive and free. Grace and love is the only hope that exists that can turn this around. That's not a new thing....it just seems to be a forgotten thing.
Grace=love=simplicity=LIFE TO THE FULL