Saturday, October 01, 2005

Remembering the Magic of My Toys - and an ordination vow

I was reading a blog -- sorry I can't remember which on -- and the writer was talking about giving her nephew a bath.

I'm not sure about the age, but obviously the nephew is a toddler. She wrote, "I wish I had known the last time I was going to play as a child in the bathtub with my ship and the little people. I used to have such a good time!! I wish I knew the last time I was going to play in the sandbox my dad made for me too. I used to LOVE playing in there. It was red, and had a cover, and was under a tree to give us some shade. I wish I knew the last time I was going to ride my childhood bike with the banana seat, and the girlie basket with flowers. Just one are too big."

I remember the day my toy soldiers turned to plastic.

They used to have a magic about them.

They weren't movable. You couldn't dress them in different clothing. G.I.Joe's came out while I was a child, but most of the toys were simple. They were small plastic figures of men.

They came in several races. Not white or black, but green -- or whatever color their uniform came in.

Americans were green.

Japanese were beige.

Germans were light green, I think.

Russians were blue.

They were all World War II soldiers, which was great because in my generation everyone's Dad fought or did something in World War II. They were the living heroes of my youth and I always loved hearing their stories.

I would line up the soldiers and prepare them for battle. A crumpled piece of paper -- perhaps some old homework -- became a giant bolder. A baseball cap became a mountain. If I played outside, blades of grass were trees.

There were men who looked through binoculars, all sharing the exact same pose.

There were bazooka men, all kneeling in the exact same fashion.

There were men on the ground, aiming a rifle, in the exact same manner.

But they were somehow different. Each had a personality. Each represented somebody who was alive and struggling to keep the world safe.

It would take time to set up the battlefield, then the guns would fire.

Bullets could only travel on my finger tips.

A man would fire when I touched the end of his rifle, and in slow motion, my finger would move across the battlefield to find a victim, who would fall. Although he'd been lifeless before, he somehow became truly lifeless now.

The Americans would always win.

I packed my toy soldiers away when we moved to Georgia. I was in the 7th grade and that was the year I discovered an alternate universe called reality. David and I bought our fist Playboy magazine, and I've been in love with Dee Dee Lind ever since. He and I decided it was time for us to start dating, and since we didn't want to date each other, we double dated taking Mary and Kay to the movies to see "To Sir, With Love." I tried my first cigarette. I drank a few sips of Vodka.

Somehow in that move to Georgia, childhood was never unpacked.

I found my toy soldiers when we moved to North Carolina a year later. I took them out and set them up in a great, final battle.

When my father walked in, he knew he'd embarrassed me. He assured me that it was all right for an 8th grader to play with toys and quickly left me alone with my toys.

But it was too late.

The magic was gone.

They weren't men. They were pieces of plastic, nothing more.

There is a part of me that clings to the child I once was. I've admitted in a previous post to occasionally -- when I'm alone -- of swinging my arms when turning a corner of the house. In my mind I have momentarily become Superman taking a turn around the Empire State Building.

I need that child in order to carry out my ordination vows -- part of which asks that I serve with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. It is the child in my that nurtures my imagination.


Blogger jbb said...

a wonderful post minister. even though im young to many (only 21) my child hood and those things i love are often a distant memory. its nice to read this and be reminded not only to enjoy life, but that im gods child and hes given me the lifeless life. i dont think you were going for that connection but thats where it took me to. thanks again!

3:52 AM  
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7:27 AM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

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Mommyhood is full of those "last time" moments. Last time she takes a bottle. Last time she sleeps in the crib and not the big bed you set up weeks before. Last time she wants a bedtime story. Last time she asks to have you brush her hair. All those last times -- and they go by without a whimper -- or even a whisper of a whimper. Just a silent little sigh.

7:20 PM  
Blogger St. Casserole said...

I love this post! Many thanks!

10:22 PM  
Blogger Humble Pie said...

My childhood started anew 7 years ago at the birth of our first child and was restarted 4 years later with our second. I have also seen a new childhood in my parents and inlaws as they 'participate' in the kids activities. I guess I am an advocate for Active parenting and grandparenting - what an incredible gift from God. The chance to see again what childhood is like.

And for those that don't/can't/choose not to have kids, the opportunity is just as real with the countless organizations that have kids yearning to receive attention and interaction.

12:17 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Men just graduate to more expensive toys named BMW, I have a client who retired and owns a 40 foot bus like RV.

It is important to remain open to experience God. To retain the childlike faith, even as we know too much for our own good. Dean Koontz has a most wonderful description of a character interacting with the "playful Presense" on page 288-289 of "One Door Away From Heaven."

"The boy recognizes the Presence everywhere around him, not confined to one bosk of ferns or one pool of shadows, but resonant in all things. He feels what otherwise he has only known through faith and common sense, feels for one sweet devastating moment what only the innocent can feel: the exquisite rightness of creation from shore to shore across the sea of stars, a sense of belonging, purpose, hope, an awareness of being loved.
Mere joy gives way to rapture, and the boy's awe grows deeper..."

I like his saying "mere joy", as tho to show joy which we think so wonderful, is just the start, compared to truly knowing God.

6:31 PM  

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