“OK, Nana, we’re going to pretend we’re wild lions.”
“Honey, you’re behind bars. You’re like a lion in the zoo.”
“No, we PRETEND we’re wild lions. We run around and wrestle.”
“You’re going to have to come out here then. So we can run around. You’re still in the cage.”
“You come in here. We’ll pretend we’re wild lions in here.”
I eyed the small enclosure. The only way to access it was climbing through a tube a three-year-old could easily maneuver. A rather disgusting tube.
I haven’t been that little in a long time.
“I think I should stay here and watch you be wild.”
Hands on her hips, Isley patiently explained, “You need to be in here.”
Ever the obliging Nana, I climbed through the tube on my hands and knees. Through the questionable goop on the bottom of the tube, which was smelly and more than a little sticky.
So we could pretend to be wild lions. For two minutes.
Isley then led the way back through the tube. “C’mon, Nana. Hurry.” I crawled through again.
So we could play wild lions outside the cage.
This was a wonderful park. On a rather gloomy day. While their oldest brother, Ethan, practiced soccer, the three younger kids and I roamed the fields, climbed, swung, bobbed, chased and looked at baby birds.
There was a giant mitt with a baseball in it. The kids climbed all over it, pretending they were holding the ball, being squished by the ball, being the ball.
Who knew a concrete mitt could provide so much fun?
It’s honestly fun to pretend. To be something I’m not. To step away from what often feels to be the burden of me to be something different. Something more enjoyable.
“Nana, pretend you’re the pitcher.” “Pretend you’re the baby bird.” “Pretend you’re the animal tamer.”
Imagination is a wonderful gift. It gives possibilities to the moment. Expands vision. Encourages dreams.
Unless it’s me covering up something I don’t want to see or have anyone else see.
Awhile back, I was talking with a friend who made a comment that really hurt my feelings. I don’t believe it was intentional–just not thoughtful. But rather than say something (perish the thought that I’d confront someone), I laughed it off.
And walked away feeling resentful.
I’d pretended everything was fine. But the pretending was a lie.
Too often I live my life with a little Pollyanna flair. The glad game. Everything’s great and positive and I’ll be OK.
God knows my heart. He hears the lie. He sees my pain.
Living life in a relationship with Jesus is freedom to experience life in truth. Embracing where I am, what I am, what I’m feeling, without condemnation.
Dr. Jim Coffield, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, said,”Jesus died so we wouldn’t have to pretend.”
I can be honest with my pain, my confusion, my frustration. I don’t have to pretend that I’m always fine. That I have the answers. That life always works for me. I can hand Him my burdens and experience the freedom and hope of His truth. Fully forgiven. My shame fully paid for.
I’m fully loved. Whether I’m pretending to be a wild lion or a really together person.