This past Sunday as I sat in my pew, I watched as the children and teachers left the sanctuary to go and practice their part for the Easter services. There are several steps up and into the connecting classrooms. The kids bounced down the aisles filled with the exuberance of their youth. When they reached the stairs, they bounded up them, feet barely touching the carpet. Each step was an adventure; each step was a familiar, pleasurable and joyful experience. It was a celebration, escape sitting quietly on a hard wooden pew.Behind them trudged the teachers, following like shepherds guiding a flock of lambs. When the adults reached the stairs, they dutifully lifted feet and legs to push themselves upward, shifting weight from one level to the next. Gone was the intrinsic, boundless energy of the child, replaced with the duty of an adult. Time and the extra weight of a full-grown body as well as carrying the weight from the concerns of a grown-up world have changed all of us. It has stolen our youth as our bodies have aged.
I can still see that youthful energy trapped inside many of us by the twinkle of the eye and the ready smile, but too often, this frail mortal shell and aging cage will not allow these inner children to escape.
I can remember in my youth, having to memorize short poems and songs to prepare for Christmas and Easter programs. I remember how unnerving it was for me. How consumed I was with the feeling of stage fright that accompanied each appearance. I recall standing on the raised dais at the front of the church, parents, teachers, and other church members staring at me. I feared that I would forget or somehow flub my lines. How did I ever survive? It had to be the resiliency of youth. Keeping the youthful experience, priceless. Don't leave home without it.