Experience-colored glasses

The oth­er night, Ariel and I were watch­ing Riv­er sleep. It was pret­ty enter­tain­ing, because he tends to dream often, and his face gets very ani­mat­ed with the emo­tions of the dreams. This par­tic­u­lar dream was hav­ing him go from laugh­ing to crying.

Oh, he’s hav­ing a night­mare,” Ari said, stroking his head to calm him. “I won­der what about?”

Let’s think about this,” I teased. “It’s either ‘I’m out of milk!’ or ‘She just changed my dia­per and now she’s gonna have to again!’ That’s about it in his range of experience.”

We laughed about it, but it got me thinking.

Have you ever thought about what it must be like to be a baby? Every­thing to Riv­er is com­plete­ly new; every sight, sound, smell, and sen­sa­tion. It must be exhil­a­rat­ing and exhaust­ing. It’s no won­der he sleeps so much. River’s lit­tle brain soaks up every lit­tle thing like a sponge; there’s no need to jet­ti­son old­er infor­ma­tion to make room for the new, or to find a way to fit it in to his preconceptions–he has no preconceptions.

Think about what that would be like, to have no pre­con­cep­tions. It gives me a glimpse of the depth of what Jesus was mean­ing when he said,

Tru­ly I say to you, unless you are con­vert­ed and become like chil­dren, you will not enter the king­dom of heav­en. Who­ev­er then hum­bles him­self as this child, he is the great­est in the king­dom of heaven.”

Matt 18:3–4 — NAS

I can see how much my experiences–the way I was brought up, the places I lived in, my friends, my choices–have made me who I am, and it’s easy for me to auto­mat­i­cal­ly pigeon­hole peo­ple into my ideas of the way they should act and think.

For instance, I get irri­tat­ed with anoth­er broth­er for not treat­ing his fam­i­ly well, but can I see that his child­hood was spent in a bro­ken fam­i­ly with no father?

Even though it’s entire­ly instinc­tu­al, I have to learn how to not judge through what I think should be ‘com­mon sense.’ I can’t look at peo­ple and the world through my expe­ri­ence-col­ored glass­es. Instead, I have to allow God to remove those glass­es, and look through the clar­i­ty of His vision, not my own.

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