He closed his eyes, extended his arms, and opened his hands, palms facing up. It wasn’t a special occasion, just an ordinary day, but I had a present for him. The excitement on his face, one eye peeking open, squeals and giggles as he shuffled his little feet in place and used all his will power to contain himself for just one second longer. I put a small toy in his hands, and you would have thought I gave him the world.
The innocence of this little boy. The trust to close his eyes and take anything I would give him. The thankfulness and gratitude for something so simple.
He knows I take care of him. He’d follow me anywhere.
Somehow, when I see his bravery, his trust, his abandonment, it serves to contrast the courage my heart holds as I walk through each day. How often do I live my life like that? How often do I trust? How often do I close my eyes, extend my arms with open hands, and accept what God gives me with excitement? With trust? Without fear?
I imagine God watches me, prying my hands open. My clenched fists being broken as I let go, one tiny bit at a time.
If we’re honest with ourselves, how many of us would say…
I’ve seen too much to trust.
I’ve seen too much to truly believe that things will be good.
I’ve had too many prayers go unanswered to really believe.
I’ve seen sickness and catastrophe and abuse and death, and if God is there, he isn’t good.
We live our lives with clenched fists and jaws locked. Surrender isn’t an option. To survive in this world requires every ounce of will power we have, and only then do we barely squeak past the finish line. We get bruised and beaten down.
And yet the bravest thing we can do is live like a child. Trust in spite of negative experience. Surrender in spite of fear. Love in spite of hurt. Living with hands open in spite of all contrary evidence.
Isn’t that what this life is about though? Living with open hands, giving love and receiving it? Loving others even when you’ve felt heartbreak? Putting yourself out there, getting up everyday, and living with courage, even when the world isn’t kind or fair or loving?
That’s bravery… living life with open hands, surrendering, even when you know what it means to seemingly have things taken from you and even when you feel like the hands you’ve been dealt are all bad. Do it anyway.
Open your clenched fists and live like a child. Faith. Hope. Love. Kindness. All like a child.