As it was school’s half term last week, we had the company of our grandchildren all week. Three delightful little girls, each one quite different and a credit to their parents who sacrificially go to great lengths in bringing them up and teaching them what is right.
They are already forming their own opinions and it’s particularly at mealtimes when their individual likes and dislikes came to the fore. ‘I don’t eat cheese’ and ‘I only drink apple juice’, etc. At their last meal before their return home we had them to ourselves. My wife went to extra trouble in preparing a special desert; meringue and cream topped with fresh raspberries. This was a great hit – just time for a quick whispered “this is nice!” between spoon fulls – until the youngest, having wolfed down her raspberries – she eats anything red! – pushed the dish away from her. “I don’t like cream.’ ‘Don’t like cream?’ I thought.
I was about to remark to my wife, that when I was a child we had two choices; we either ate what was put in front of us or we left the table. But I felt a check and had second thoughts. I wondered if I am any different now? I may be older in years, but do some of those childish ways still linger on?
When I worked in an office, there was always the tendency to delve in my in-tray and pick out the ‘nice’ items; those that were the easiest to deal with. I could always leave the rest until later, on the pretext of the overwhelming pressure of work, which was partly true. At home there are choices: clearing a blocked drain or going down to the beach, doing the household accounts or watching my favourite TV programme. Guess which wins?
During the times when I have been battered by chronic fatigue, I had the obvious excuse, but in fact it had the opposite effect. Even with such little energy, I didn’t want it to beat me, so I resolved that each day I would do at least one thing that I really liked and one thing, no matter how small, that I didn’t like. Hopefully it would be good to look back at the day and see something achieved.
You could say that these things are only human, but I believe there is more to it than that. These childish behaviour patterns rooted in the past, can hamper our relationship with Christ and have a disabling effect upon our lives.
I’ve come to the conclusion there are no such things as ‘nice’ or ‘nasty’ if we change our thinking and make the right choices, they are all used to the good.