I have returned from my adventure.
My cruise to the places of paradise is over--now hidden away in private thoughts and memories. I was forever changed during this trip not by some great and momentous event, but by little things building one on another.
I have many stories to tell, but you can only tell one story at a time. Here's my first.
He was just a little boy. We will call him John.
Tow-headed and fair. Sun-kissed.
Dressed in simple shorts and tee shirt.
His feet couldn’t touch the floor; they dangled and swung free and limp.
He balanced the plate on his lap; the cake tilted precariously (he wasn't a bit concerned that it might fall).
I watched him. Enthralled, I sat and stared at him (I know it was rude, but I just couldn't help myself).
The cake was three-tiered. White with layers of icing. Decadent, rich, and elegant. Others were eating the same kind of cake using forks in tiny manageable bites, but they didn’t interest me.
John ate the elegant cake with his little boy hands. He would pick up the whole wedge and take enormous bites from the section that reached his little mouth first—top or bottom it didn’t seem to matter. He would lick his lips (stretching his little tongue as far as he could) before each new bite.
I took photos and he didn’t even notice.
He had no napkin, so I waited to see what he would do when he finished.
He didn’t disappoint me.
He started at the base of his hand and licked all the way to the tips of his fingers. Several times. Then he licked his thumb and each finger one by one. Only then he was finished.
But I wasn’t.
I wanted a piece of cake (and I really don’t even like cake).
There in the Piazza of the Crown Princess I learned a lesson from a little boy I called John. I had to brush a few hot tears away as I quickly jotted notes down on a piece of paper I found in my bag.
John enjoyed his cake. Every crumb. Every morsel. He was not bound by decorum and etiquette. No one (not even his mother) handed him a fork. No one told him to go and get a napkin. No one told him he was taking too big of a bite. They simply let the little boy be and eat his cake.
I want to eat life like little John ate cake.
Without the restraints and constraints of what is deemed proper.
I want to sit somewhere and let my feet dangle and eat a piece of cake with my fingers and lick each one of them and laugh. Who am I kidding? I want to lick my whole hand and not miss even a smudge of icing.
If we treated our relationship with Jesus like little John treated his piece of cake--a whole lot more people would be interested in eating cake.