*** I am so pleased to once again, share a post with you from my son and favorite guest blogger, Miles Macleod. It is a beautiful and insightful take on Matthew 18:3. You can follow his family blog on macleodsonthemove.weebly.com. Enjoy!
So it’s been about six weeks in Malaysia and I’m feeling young again. But don’t get too jealous. I’m not talking about the grip-life-by-the-ears-and-drive-off-into-the-sunset-with-reckless-abandon type of young; it’s more like the I-can’t-read-this-menu-do-you-have-any-photos-of-your-food-so-I-can-point-to-the-pictures young.
It’s infuriating at times and good for a few laughs at others, but mostly it’s just embarrassing. Like the time I couldn’t figure out how to turn the water back on in my house and had to seek my neighbor’s help, or the time I drove down the wrong side of the road (they drive on the left here), or the time I did that again, or the times I pick up Quincy from daycare and can’t understand what his teacher is asking me to do so I just smile and nod and leave and don’t do what they ask, or the time I accidentally drank pond water from a spigot and the nearby guards laughed before showing me how to get filtered water, or how it’s taken me two weeks (and counting) to replace the only lightbulb in my bathroom (Erin showers in the dark every morning), or how I sometimes say “Good morning” (“salamat pagi”) to my neighbors when I see them walking in the evening (“salamat petang”).
Whatever confidence I had gained as a successful member of society while living in the States has quickly disappeared. Now, I’m more unsure, more unaware, and more pensive. More child-like.
There is a verse in the Bible, somewhere in Matthew, where Jesus tells a bunch of people to be more like children. It will help them, He says, get into Heaven. Whenever I’ve heard this verse mentioned, I assumed he wanted us to have more faith — child-like faith — a faith rooted in trust and untainted by the limitations of empirical evidence and the cynicism of adulthood.
Now, though, I’m thinking I had it wrong. Why would He want us to have the same type of faith that led me to put my trust and my bloody teeth and my cookies and milk into appeasing some mythological creature (see tooth fairy) or cultural apparition (see Santa)? That can’t be the same faith that He wants us to have, right? I would think He wants a more adult-like faith than that, one that has been tested and refined. So why be like children then? Well, in light of my six weeks in Malaysia, I’m thinking what Jesus likes so much about children isn’t so much their faith; it’s their helplessness.
I think about Quincy and his own helplessness too. At one years old, he relies on me for pretty much everything and because I come through more often than not, his love and his trust for me grows. I’m there to carry him on my shoulders when he tires and grab him from his crib when he wakes. To kiss his boo-boos and read his books; to teach him boundaries and open his doors. To him, I am everything. My identity — in his eyes — is defined by his own limitations.
And so it goes with world travel. For those who have yet to do it, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. There are numerous benefits, but perhaps none more so than the spiritual clarity that comes with it. My can-do American attitude has quickly been replaced by a please-help Malaysian posture. And through this transition and in the midst of my helplessness, my Father’s identity has been redefined by my own limitations. He is made strong in my weakness. My place in this crazy, amazing world has never been more clear. I am child-like. But for my Father, that’s okay.