At church, my babies (I love to call them that because for me, there is no greater delight in serving those little minds at Sunday School, and finding God’s love with them, complete with their brute honesty and candid innocence), a bunch of just about 30 kids, often get to enjoy playing around in the vast outdoors. On select Sundays, there are a couple of bouncing castles for the children to expend their energy, and boy oh boy, those little kids have so much energy, it amazes me.
What gave the impetus for this particular post was a lesson my son taught me while at the bouncing castle. It is interesting to know that previously, my son had avoided the bouncy contraption like a plague, and it would puzzle me because, ‘Son, I thought you’d love this’. This specific Sunday, he decided he would give it a try.
So, there he stood in line, his clean-shaven head shining in the midday sun, his excitement palpable. His gleeful shrieks rent the air, coupled with the laughter of the other kids as we set up the bouncing castle. Once it was up and running, the kids in queue would jump in turns, for a couple of minutes. The joy on the faces of these kids was contagious. It was marvelous to see how they live in the present, how they enjoy each moment, certainly a lesson for many of us whose thumbprints area permanent feature on our encased smart phones.
My son waited till his turn came. When he jumped in, the expression on his face was priceless: a mixture of ecstatic discovery and utter disbelief at this thing that has you bopping up and down like a yo-yo. For a split second, the typical mum I am ran into panic mode: Will he get hurt? Is he okay? Will he enjoy it? Clearly, my frenzied thoughts were of no use since the little boy was having the time of his life.
When his turn was over, he got off and went to the back of the queue, to do it all over again. I thought to myself, ‘this is cool’. But cool didn’t last a few more minutes because my son came to me, head hung low, asking that he be allowed on the bouncing castle one more time. I was tasked with explaining to his 3-year old mind that he’d have to wait his turn. Typical of 3-year olds, my answer was met with incoherent whining, but you know what they say, mommy gotta stay firm. When he realized I would not budge, he left to join the queue, albeit grudgingly.
As I stood there looking at the energetic lot of kids, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lessons learnt in that brief dialogue. ‘Wait your turn’ could not get out of my mind. In this day and age where we breathe and live on social media, it is not difficult to get a glimpse into other people’s lives. Not a week passes by without seeing pictures of graduation parties, engagement photo-shoots, new-born status updates, weddings, awards… the list is endless. Granted, social media is an amazing place to share great news. If we are not careful however, it will be the one place that we use as a yardstick for all of our life’s achievements and accomplishments (even when we know we shouldn’t).
Sometimes (and these are many times) it is easy to wallow in self-pity, thinking everyone else has their life figured out but me. Thinking everyone is having an amazing stress-free life, but me. And while this is not true, it does have the capacity to lead us to an unwarranted pity party. This cascade of events will often (almost always) leave us feeling drained, empty.
Telling my son to ‘wait your turn’ reminded me of the importance of this principle in daily life. Celebrate with others in their achievements, knowing well that your turn will come. Life, and this goes for all of us, is characterized with seasons. Seasons come and go, so you will not last in that dreary lonely spot forever. Wait your turn.
Photo credits: Kiarii Kimani