Just before Christmas I got back from a week in Seoul and Hong Kong. I know it must seem ungrateful and perhaps a bit incredible, but I find most international trips fairly boring. This was the 5th or 6th time I have been to Seoul. And I’ve been to Hong Kong so many times now, people in the street say Jou San to me. When you travel for business, rather than pleasure, a jumbo jet soon becomes just another big bus in the sky.
I wouldn’t say I found the work boring. As usual, it is such a pleasure to be with World Vision people. In this case, 13 other members of Asian World Vision Boards. 14 of us praying the Lord’s Prayer in our mother tongues, 13 different languages.
As usual, the work is interesting and fulfilling, but the travelling is boring, and I regret to say it has become common-place for me, and I am rather blase about this so-called jet-setting.
When I got back Richard immediately wanted to go down to the school yard to throw the frisbee and ride his bike. Dutifully, I went with him. Judy said, “You’re a good Dad” more to remind me about what “good Dads” do, than what I felt in my own spirit.
I sat down on a bench in the shade of an avenue of Cypress trees and looked across the playground to Mount Dandenong which is a backdrop to where we live in Boronia. Richard wanted to go riding down the hill. I assured him he could, and that I would be right here on the seat.
“If I don’t come back, you’ll come and look for me?” Richard asked. And I assured him indeed I would.
He rode off, bouncing over the rough ground and obviously enjoying the thrill of speed and exploring the limits of his control.
In a minute he turned a corner and was out of sight. In less than a minute more he was back, red in the face and beaming with excitement. “I went right over to the Grade 5 area,” he said, “further than I’ve ever been before.” David Livingstone finding Victoria Falls could not have been more excited.
It struck me how blase I have become about the wonders of the world. The Grade 5 area is indeed something of wonder to those who are going through the wonder years. But much of life is a wonder, and too many of us have forgotten how to be awe-struck.
That those big Boeings actually fly is a routine, everyday awesome event. The rich variety and the stunning diversity of human culture and experience is an everyday, ordinary wonder. These are things about which a fully human person ought not to lose a sense of wonder and amazement.
There is a danger at this time of the year that we may be so familiar with the Christmas routine, that we miss the wonder of it all. It is indeed, the most amazing event in human history. God came down, and glory shone around. That beats the Grade 5 area hands down.
As I entered into the experience of a six-year old’s wonder and excitement, God reminded me that we need to become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.