I have a thing for Slurpees - those frozen confections of the Coke variety. I'm sorry to admit this. I wonder if excessive submission to Slurpee temptation has affected my brain. You know, too many brain freezes?
Yesterday I followed four-year-old Calvin up the stairs to his bedroom. As we climbed, he reminded me that we were going to make little minions out of polymer clay.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I said as we stepped onto the landing.
He turned to me and said, “Gummy, I think my brain is better than yours.” He said it somewhat apologetically, like he was sorry this was the case but we would just have to live with it.
“I know, Buddy. Good thing I have you around,”
I think on some level he felt a prompting that such a statement might not be socially prudent. He tried to explain: “I mean, things just stay in my brain. So many things.” He pursed his eyebrows as he said this, and I was tempted to take him in my arms and tell him I was so sorry. It has been obvious to us since he was very little, talking in full paragraphs at 18 months old, that he had a gift for communicating. And with that gift we also learned that he had a memory like a magnet and life was just a pile of tiny metal shavings. Poor boy.
Fortunately for Calvin - the master of logic and memory who is trapped in a pre-school body - he has Beth for a sister.
Beth is two. Her passions are the color pink and princesses. She is fearless and funny, and she adores Calvin. Today the two of them ran around the back yard of their home in Spokane, (where I am visiting) in search of the Easter eggs their daddy had hidden. By the time they had collected all the eggs my heart was just a puddle on the back porch. Beth would spy a purple egg up in the branches of a tree, and Calvin would reach up, grab it, and put it in her basket. When Cal found an egg before Bethy did, she would squeal “Good job, Bud!” It was almost unreal how sweet they were to each other, and how joyful they each were for the other’s success. I wondered silently if these were the same children I had taken to the play place in the mall last night.
Tonight as Jordon, Annie and I sat talking at the close of this Easter Sunday, we were recounting the joys and challenges of these treasures God entrusted to their care. We were recollecting Calvinisms through the last few years. Then Annie lamented: “I’m worried… I mean seriously worried… about Calvin’s spiritual future.” When I asked her why, she replied that he was just so logical. And intelligent. She was worried that he would try to find logic in the gospel of Christ and…well, that it might come up short. So many adversaries of the Word use words to explain Him away. Beth, well, she’s all heart. People with heart and a propensity for goodness find easy access to direction from the Holy Spirit. But the minds of scientists are frightening to us who are feeling-based. Today when we were reading a book about dinosaurs Calvin commented that perhaps he would be a scientist when he grows up. That powerful left brain can do marvelous things.
I’ve been pondering Annie’s words tonight, while I whisper prayers for her and Jordon and Cal and Beth. I’m thinking about some of the most intelligent people I know. People whose left brains (the side of logic) are well oiled and purring inside their heads. I’m married to one of these. And the Spirit reminds me that this man, who is brilliant, wipes the tears from his eyes in movies, at church, during Hallmark commercials and even ball games far more than I do! In fact, next to Dave, I feel like a calloused Neanderthal.
Not that I know anything about the human brain and its functions, or even that much about the feeling heart. But it is apparent to me that logic does not have the intrinsic power to override feelings. We tend to categorize things, and people, saying they are either logical or passionate. I believe we do ourselves a disservice in this. So I am telling myself to cut it out! Quit categorizing!
I want Calvin to know that his brain, which is for sure better than mine, is no more important than his heart. His Momma is a perfect example of the power of the heart to work hand in hand with the brain. She is gifted in her work, highly respected in her field, and renowned for her technique as a therapist in Speech Language Pathology. But her sweet spot, the place where she hits home-runs in life, rests in the tender part of her chest. Let your heart lead you, little man, and then your brain.
And speaking of brains, I’ve heard we humans generally do not use our's to their full capacity. Not by a long shot. I’m thinking that if we are only using a portion of our brain's potential, that there is much we are not able to understand, and perhaps are not yet supposed to understand, that will one day be available to us. One of the things that intrigues me about my David is that he is not bothered by unanswered questions. If his heart is at ease, he is not disturbed that his brain does not comprehend certain things. He believes, without apologies, that the Lord will fill in the blanks in His own time. For a man with a brain that makes it impossible for anyone to beat him in word games, he sure has a simple kind of faith.
Calvin, there will be things you will not be able to figure out down the road. Maybe even tomorrow morning. Let that be ok. Trust that God knows how it all fits together, and that one day He will share it with us when we are able to understand it.
I see myself in 1000 years or so, looking back on major questions I have about my church, my life, and the many weaknesses I have that I cannot overcome. I see my brain, which by then may be functioning closer to capacity (having been removed from the "brain freeze" of humanness), understanding what is not logical to me now. I see myself saying “Duh, why didn’t I think of that back then?”
For now, because I am basically a four year old spirit in a senior citizen body, I have chosen to trust that even though I don’t understand certain things, Someone does. And He has asked me to trust Him.
And so I do. And so should you, boy of my heart!
This, my dears, is the last of my Lent writing for 2016. It is currently 2:30 am and Calvin will be jumping on my bed in a couple hours. I have spilled my brains and my heart into this exercise and shared it with the people I love as a token of gratitude to my Lord for the capacity to communicate. I think it is marvelous that we get to interlace our lives and thoughts with each other. I am living proof that by communicating with others, we understand more about ourselves.
These past 40 days of writing combine to represent my hopes and desires; concepts that I wish to take with me to the hereafter, and that I also wish to leave to my posterity. I have too much physical stuff hanging around my house (my poor family knows this!) You can toss all of it when I am gone. But these words? They speak my heart, unedited and written most often after very long and tiring days. Forgive my mistakes and lack of literary finesse. Take whatever nuggets are useful and inspiring and keep them. They are what I would put in your HOPE CHESTS and mine. I love you all, and I do love my Lord.