Monday we had lunch at a McDonalds near Midway airport. Because I was flying out for work in the afternoon, we went to this particular Golden Arches so I could laugh with the kids in the play area up till the last minute before having to head over to the airport.
It really is amazing to think of the minds that artfully concoct the different tube and slide patterns. Kids go through laughing and sweating and enjoying every minute, parents go through at the risk of needing reconstructive knee surgery afterward.
This particular play area had an enclosed section that I could actually stand up in, thanks be the maker, my head just an inch or two from the ceiling. It was circular, about 5 feet across, and for whatever reason my two-year-old Jaxon loved this part of the structure. Probably because he didn't have to really climb anything to get to it, just one tube crawl into the enclosure.
Jaxon and I were in this thing for awhile; playing tag-like, him jumping around, and of course his new Buzz and Woody pals were with us. At one point I picked him up and while holding him with his back to my shoulder, held him so that his feet were on the enclosure's ceiling. "Jaxon is walking on the ceiling! Jaxon is jumping on the ceiling!" and I moved his feet around so it seemed like he was doing so.
He loved it; he was cracking up as he trotted around the ceiling of this thing. I held him up in that manner, near upside-down, for about 30-40 seconds before lowering his feet. While still holding him, he let out a giggle and then said the word.
No problem. He was laughing, I was laughing, we did it again; a walk around the ceiling of the play area. 30-40 seconds later I brought his feet down and put him right-side up.
After about 6-7 times of lifting him up and bringing him down I was ready for something else. However, he was not. When I started to put him down on his feet he did that little kid thing where they bend their knees, tuck their feet up under their butt, and make it near impossible for you to set them down because you don't want them to face plant.
"Again!" - this time with a good helping of exasperation added in.
So I lifted him up again and we went for another ceiling walk. His exasperation gone instantly, laughing resumes, all is well. But after another half dozen or more laps, daddy was done. Instead of trying to put him down into a standing position, I just cradled him in my arms and sat down. As smooth as this move was, the result was one unhappy little boy.
"Again! Again! Again!" Sad face. Tears. Big lip. "AGAIN!"
It was the same thing over and over and over again, and Jaxon wanted it to keep going on and on and on. The repetitive activity was alive to him, and it was my tiredness that killed it.
"This is exactly what Chesterton was talking about." That's what popped in my mind as I held my sweaty little boy, listening to his chant of "Again!"
One of favorite books of all time is Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesteron. Chesterton was the C.S. Lewis, the Ravi Zacharias, of his day; a brilliant mind, prolific author, and profound voice for the church. I first learned about his book Orthodoxy through the music of Rich Mullins, as his song "The Color Green" is influenced by the chapter "The Ethics of Elfland." The entire Orthodoxy book is incredible, and I encourage you to read it (get it for free HERE), but the Elfland chapter is one I've reread time and time again.
I'm incredibly thankful that while holding my sweaty little buddy, and while he yelled, "again! again! again!" that I was reminded of this beautiful prose on the heart of God:
All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire.
A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an bus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. The very speed and ecstasy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction.
Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
- From Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton