Since moving in to my new place las month, i have had the pleasure of spending much of my freetime in close proximity to the Barret family that lives upstairs. This means that I have been able to get to know their almost-two year old son, Creed. I'm told that two years old is a crucial age in the areas of development and discovery. This kid is great, and I am continually amazed by how much I learn about myself by witnessing life in such a pure form. Consider this the first installment in what can hopefully be a regular report on what I'm coming to understand about life and adulthood through the life and infancy of Creed Barret.
I've noticed over the last month that this two year old's greatest weapon is that of repetition. He has a limited vocabluary, and the words he does know come out with such resounding indistinctness that anyone listening is lucky to understand it on his first try. Creed always quickly repeats the last two words of anything he hears that he doesn't understand, whether question or answer. For example, we were playing his favorite game, which I like to call, "I'll point at a picture and you tell me what it is." This kid is good at it. We were going through a stack of his favorite DVDs, he was telling me that the giraffe was a giraffe, that the alligator was an alligator, that purple was purple, etc. As soon as I asked him, "Creed, what's your favorite animal?" he promptly responded with uncertainty, "favorite animal." So I learned that his best defense against the embarrassment of not knowing what words mean is to assertively throw them back at you. In doing this, he accomplishes two things. First, he can make you question if the words that you used were, in fact, words; or if perhaps you somehow had forgotten English and were speaking some other language. Second, he buys himself time to formulate some alternative method of participating in the conversation, avoinding further embarrassment. It's genius.
I see in myself the same habits. In my crippling insecurity, I am so quick to spout out the first thing that comes into my head, in hopes of averting judgmental stares and the embarrassment of being exposed in my weakness. I am also quick to reproduce anything I hear or see in front of me, so as to preserve my own image before a world that doesn't really care about me. I dress how I'm supposed to, I fake other peoples' accents, I speak Christainese. I have become a master of changing myself into something that can be accepted and loved in any and every circumstance. Circumstantial love is what I constantly chase after, hoping to be accepted and validated by the people around me. Creed does it with words, I do it with far more. I am slave to my image and so often give myself to that, withholding myself from the Lord. Thinking, "if everyone else accepts me, I am saved." but Christ has already secured my eternal acceptance from a God that will never change His mind. And still I run from Him to the arms of this mistress world that isn't interested in me.
Someday, Creed Barrett will outgrow his linguistic deficiency. I pray that I might someday outgrow mine.