When my son Buster was a small toddler he would make up these epic, anthemic songs that made sense only to him. One of them, as I recall, had a refrain that went, “bear’s not, bear’s not, bear’s not dead…”
Sing it to Amy Grant’s “Every Heartbeat.” Somehow it works.
Another of his songs — and it was the show-stopper, full of emotion and broad, dramatic arm gestures — included the interesting sentiment that there was “one more innocent to go…”
He was like, three years old. So I have to assume this was like ABBA, singing syllable-by-syllable.
Otherwise I’d be worried.
I was reminded of all of this bizarre-yet-lethal cuteness by Simcha Fisher’s piece today, wherein she ponders the Innocence of God as gleaned by an encounter with her toddler:
The other day, I got six kids dressed, brushed, fed, and dropped off at their three different schools; cleared the table, threw some laundry in, pulled something dinnerish out of the freezer, and settled down for some frantic writing before a dentist appointment.
I had gotten maybe four words down when my daughter toddled over with a toddler problem—something like, “Mama, I bited my banana and now my banana is bited and now I need a new banana.”
So I stormed, “YES. Absolutely. Let me GET UP from my chair and fix your problem RIGHT NOW because it’s SO IMPORTANT that I stop working RIGHT THIS MINUTE.”
And she gave a happy little hop and said, “Fanks, Mama!”
In a child, innocence is lovely but naïve: they believe everything they’re told because they don’t know any better. They’re inexperienced and undeveloped, and cannot grasp ugly things like sarcasm, cannot imagine parental weakness.
God is also innocent, but not because He is lacking anything. God’s innocence comes from the other extreme:
His goodness is so complete that there is no room for anything foul or nasty. He is not deceived; He is not blinded. He simply admits only the durability of goodness, and treats evil and perversion like the worthless, pointless nothing that it is.
Children are innocent because they cannot comprehend evil. God is innocent because He sees evil for what it is: something to wash away and be done with. And this is why He accepts our lousy, lacking, insincere prayers, our grasping petitions, our grudging penitence, our half-baked praise, and our inattentive adoration. It’s not because we’ve deceived Him, or because He’s somehow pathetically grateful for the crumbs we throw His way.
We don’t ponder the fullness of His goodness enough, or what a Being of 100% Love actually means.
It’s good, and humbling, lectio.
I do love me some Simcha Fisher!
Related: My own encounter with a kid, a banana and a dog