Be As Little Children
The Secret for Reaching the Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 18.3 says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I agreed with this in a vague sort of way, but truth of it came home to me viscerally a few weeks ago.
I was playing with my grandson, Krish, who was eighteen months old. He is a bundle of joy, and his energy far outstrips mine.
I sat on the sofa because I could not carry him or chase him anymore.
I picked up a throw rug, held it in front of me and asked, “Where is grandpa?” and peeked over the top of the rug ducked down immediately.
He caught on right away.
He picked up the bottom of the blanket and caught my eye and roared uproariously.
We had a new game and we played peek-a-boo for a few minutes.
And then I picked up the rug for the umpteenth time and asked, “Where is grandpa?” and waited.
And he didn’t come.
So, I peered over the top. He was not there.
And then I got a poke in the back.
He had circled around the sofa and come in from the other side. Generals win battles with such thinking.
Seeing first puzzlement and then incredulity on my face he hurst out in paroxysms of laughter.
His small body seemed too fragile to hold such immense amounts of glee.
We laughed, and laughed and laughed.
And I remembered Matthew and it all became clear.
Children can access that joy which is the Kingdom of Heaven because they do not hold on to the past with it’s many regrets or plot furiously for the future with many demands.
They are perfect exemplars of the dictum “Be Here Now”.
And, courtesy of Krish, I got a brief glimpse of that.
The cynical argue that this is all very well for a privileged child in affluent circumstances and such play is not representative.
They are wrong.
Many years ago, there was a 60 Minutes segment on the appalling conditions in the refugee camps at Darfur.
And there were small children running to peer into the lenses of the big cameras. And it was abundantly clear that those children, at that moment, were every bit as full of joy.
We cannot be little children anymore. That ship has sailed.
But we can heed Matthew’s injunction and become ‘like’ little children. It is not easy but, if you put in the effort, the payoff is huge.
So how do you become ‘like’ a little child?
It is simple, but not easy.
First you drop the past. Notice the cacophony in your head. A lot if it is regret for what you did and stuff that happened. Some of it is a recollection of wonderful things that you did or fortuitous events that occurred.
Let it all go.
Then you drop the future. The other part of the tumult in your head is anxiety for what will happen or could happen and stuff you need to do and glorious or debilitating vistas of what tomorrow will bring.
Let all of that go as well.
And when you truly dump all of that trash, that same joy will well up in you.