We live on a delicious slice of earth nestled down a long private drive through a small forest of oak trees. With over an acre of land on the outskirts of our city, we see all sorts of interesting creatures; bats, fox, coyotes, bunnies, snakes, turtles, Bald Eagles, neighbor’s stray dogs, squirrels galore, a tarantula or two, and apparently, Leprechauns.
Our 6 year old Son was born into this lovely place. Each year has been an adventure with him getting a bit more brave, exploring our yard and taking note of fun things to do outside. For a few months now, he’s been eyeing an adventure stretched beyond our familiar back yard. The original home to this once cattle grazing property, is situated a few acres away.
At night, the place looks a bit creepy. The low slung 1950’s abode is in serious lack for attention and complete disrepair. We don’t know whether the wife has passed on, but her husband died a few years back. It seems a bit haunted, other than our back yard view being interrupted by a soft glowing light from a lampost stationed somewhere at the end of their home.
Braeden has been looking at that Golden Glow all summer… and thinking. Imagining. Dreaming.
On a few recent occasions, he’s asked if we could go over to that light and see what’s over there. I’ve been reluctant. First, there’s a dry creek bed that cuts through the property with a crickety old bridge to cross over. Second, that’s the end of our property that connects to the creek that connects to the deeper woods, that connects to the river, that paves a pathway for all the coyotes we’ve seen coming up to our yard. Third, the owner’s grandson, who has quite a reputation around here, has a gynormous Mastiff we’ve met up with on a few unexpected and unfortunate occasions. And last, we’ve befriended this cranky, elderly and ill-healthed couple, and I wouldn’t want to scare anyone into their grave just because of our curious boy.
Late last night our son got his wish. “Mom, where are the flashlights? If I find flashlights, will you take me across the bridge to the Gold Light? I think there’s a Pot of Gold over there! Let’s go see, please?? Let’s go find the Pot of Gold!!”
Needless to say, he was asking me this on the first eve of our long weekend break. My heart for adventure in the moment was going back to down-filled pillows and sweet dreams of nothingness. I’m not sure whether I suggested another night, or “go ask your dad about that…” but shortly, he comes to the side of the couch and presents his and Dad’s flashlights, proudly announcing “We’re going over to the Gold Light to find the Pot of Gold Mom.”
Just like his dad, he’s always game for some type of adventure or exploration, and a warm summer’s night is always a perfect excuse for such things.
Now I’m awake, but kind of relieved I don’t have to be eaten by throngs of blood-thirsty mosquitos. I turn my attention back to the TV. Shortly, I hear someone trying to get in our back patio door. It’s pitch black out, but I can see our little guy trying to turn the handle. I go over and unlock the door letting him in.
Little Man steps in, flashlight dangling in hand, shoulders drooping and looking to the floor. Running past me, he dives into the pillows on the couch, facedown where I can hear his muffled crying. I turn him over trying to sit him up, his sweet little Angel-boy face staring back at me, he tried to look away, embarrassed, and in a very choked up voice, “Mom, I’m so disappointed. There wasn’t a Pot of Gold. There was nothing.” He went limp as a noodle as I pulled his little body up into my lap, wrapping him up in a tight Motherly cradle. He laid his head on my chest and I could hear his whimpered heaving, trying to recover from the knowledge of his lost dream.
How I love this Boy.
If I could move Heaven and Earth. If I could create a Leprechaun, a Rainbow, or a Pot of Gold…..
I felt his heart-broken pain. The loss of innocent expectation. My Mommy-heart ached with his, that familiar bruising of at least a million unfulfilled hopes and dreams. And at least half a dozen dashed to pieces in the shattering of life.
Disappointment went through his tiny body…completely limp with loss.
On the outset, Braeden was lit up with excitement, “Dad! Let’s go on an adventure to find the Pot of Gold! Let’s get flashlights…it’s dark outside! We’ll go find a bunch of Gold!”
Apparently, he’d been talking of this with his sister night after night, looking out into the darkness and focusing on that light. It was drawing him in, wooing him towards what he thought would the greatest treasure of all. Somehow, he’d convinced himself that there was truly a Pot of Gold under that magical Glowing Light.
As they ventured out into the moonlight, he starts to get nervous, “Dad, will you carry me? What about the coyotes? Are the coyotes out there tonight?” We’ll be alright Son. We have flashlights and they don’t like the light.
“Dad, I’m a little bit scared. Are you sure there aren’t coyotes in the woods?” It’s going to be just fine Son. We’re on an adventure, remember?
“Dad, what’s worth more, Gold? Silver? Diamonds? Is Gold worth the most?? We’re going to find so much gold Dad! We’re going to have like a whole bunch of Gold!”
Out across the grassy field they forged, closing in on the crickety bridge. When they started to cross it, Braeden stopped, trying to be brave and holding his father’s hand…”Dad we’re almost to the Gold Light.” He overcomes his fear, and up the hill they went, Father and Son.
“Aaaaaaaahhhh! That’s not GOLD!! Uuuuuughhh! Let’s go back. It’s not Gold at all. There’s nothing here….let’s just go back!”
I adore how bright and hopeful our children imagine. I love the impossible things our Littlest Son can dream up…like wanting to learn how to run on top of water, or to fly up to the clouds and play. To be able to talk to the animals and they can talk back, or be the Superhero he thinks he is with a Magical Cape that really works, or inventing creative space machines that can fly to the moon or visit other planets.
I love the pure-hearted preciousness for him to believe that he really would find that Pot of Gold underneath the Golden Light.
The uninhibited imagination to Dream.
Dreams that ignite in the Imagination of our God-Breathed instinct, before the harsh realities and toughness of life have a chance to douse it out with floods of disappointment and loss.
What would it be, to live a life truly free, unchained to even time, space or gravity…to fly, to soar, to see the impossible, possible?
Boundless. Limitless. Heroic.
An innate sense that there is Something bigger than what we see, more Wonderful than what we know, something Magically Miraculously Divine that keeps us pressing forward for more. Something God-Breathed. Our hearts ache for It. Our souls are empty without It.
Dreams of a perfect world absent of evil, dreams of peace and absence of war, dreams of a stable life or a guaranteed future, dreams of finding a knight in shining armor who can rescue and set life straight, or dreams of a perfect marriage or family, or a business successful beyond measure….
What drives any of us searching for these things? What makes us want to find or attempt to create our own slice of Paradise?
We often suffer from “The Pot Of Gold” Syndrome. My husband chuckled about Braeden’s thinking and said, “It seems he’s been sucked-in to a ‘Get-Rich-Quick’ scheme at his tender young age.”
I believe God Created our desire for fulfilment, creativity, imagination and life-giving abundance when He breathed into Adam’s lungs, Divine Breath of Life. It’s in our DNA. But much like Adam and Eve, we turn our desire from the very Creator Who breathed in us His perfect gifts, and our focus often becomes everything in the garden of life, forgetting the Life-Giver who Authored it.
Braeden’s genuinely felt defeat reminds me of times where I’ve fallen into a heap, battle-weary and on the brink of giving up. And of my Heavenly Father, patiently picking up the pieces of my shattered faith, broken dreams and lifeless soul, and holding me close to His heart. Hemming my life in under the shelter of His care and comfort. Giving my life peace and meaning even while storms rage at me from all sides. If I could love our son as much as I do, how much more bountiful, beautiful and perfect, does God love us? And He beams with pride when we trust Him just like we do when we can fulfill a promise for our own children. I believe just like any parent, He aches over our disappointments, He grieves when our hearts break, He laughs when our joy is made full. How much more willing is He to prove Himself faithful to me?
But it takes child-like faith to trust.
If life’s difficulties overwhelm my focus, I’ll get caught in the trap of expectation when life falls short, not realizing that this experience as a whole is a journey, not a destination. To view life on a grander scale, realizing that the only thing worthy of my trust, is in God Alone.
I think when we are willing to step past what’s comfortable and achievable, we step in to a partnership with God. He Inspired The Dream. It’s beyond our capacity. That’s the whole point. We need HIM to fulfill it. Learning to trust Him to do the impossible…that’s where His Glory comes in. That’s where we disappear and HE Shines. He is the Light in the Darkness, sparking grand curiousity and imagination…illuminating that which inspires us, leading us, wooing us on life’s pathway to Him. When our experience becomes all about Him, He becomes our Treasure. The scope of our desire, our “Pot of Gold”.
This is Kingdom Business. Where my Faith is being tested. What my heart beats for is to be made capable, not because I think I am, because most days all I can see is all my own insecurities and self-doubts, but because God Himself trusts the dream He’s placed in me. The Author and Finisher of my Faith. The Lampost Shining in my Garden of Life.
It’s raining outside this early morning. Our sleepy-headed-blue-eyed blonde just woke up. I heard him say, “Dad! It’s raining outside! Do you know what that means? A Rainbow is coming! Do you know that at the end of the Rainbow, there’s a Pot of Gold?”
Read Matthew 6:16-34