Today I watched you, little boy of mine, running freely through brown crisp grass that has been kissed too often by the summer sun. I saw your eyes as we pulled up to the park, wide, taking in all of the wonders of this place, your mind quickly trying to choose which fun to start with. You climbed, and you bounced and you swung so high that you thought you’d leave footprints in the clouds.
Your cheeks grew pink, but you ignored the heat of a September afternoon in Texas. All you could think about was the fun, the greatness, the genuine treat of these moments, little boy running, golden late day sun dancing across the freckles on your smiling face.
You climbed to the very top of everything there was to climb. You looked down on the earth with no fear, just a boyish sense of manliness, surveying your great accomplishment from the highest of heights. And then, you made sure that I saw you there, little boy testing his courage, building up in small ways the masculine strengths you will need in order to live this life that you have been given.
I looked around this place, and wondered what you could possibly see in it. It was old. Broken. The sprawling playground was unattractive at best, completely unusable at its worst. I looked at the chipped paint, busted swing chains, squeaky metal parts struggling to move after decades of piloting children through the adventure of childhood.
It seemed obvious that what I saw was very different from what your little boy heart took in. And, I thought as I stood there among the rust, that I hope this is how you see people, too, my boy. I hope that when you look at a world of human beings that are chipped and broken, that you will see what they were made to be. In a worn mother’s way, I pray that you will see the image of God in your fellow broken down, busted up adventurers.
And, when you feel forgotten and abandoned, when you feel left behind and useless, I pray that you will remember my words, sweet boy. Because God sees you the way you saw this rusty playground. He knows your purpose. He will use you for His glory, with great joy. With great joy.
When the sun was beginning to set, you reluctantly turned your back to the enormous playground, walking resolutely to the car, knowing baths and bedtimes and other evils of little boyhood awaited. I smiled at you in the rearview mirror, my only man to raise, my little silver lining sketcher, and I prayed that you and I could grow up together, seeing with the eyes of God, joyfully ignoring the rust.