Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
On a Sunday night of a rather busy and tiring weekend, after my wife and I had finished some pizza and wine, I decided I had enough of the day. My wife was engaged in her social media while I just vegged out in front of the TV, aimlessly wondering the channels.
I searched the usual channels but as is normally the case, nothing of any interest was on. I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through every channel at my disposal.
I quickly skimmed through the major networks followed by some of the local stations. Next up on the dial were the kid channels. As I passed through this section of programming, there it was, a piece of my childhood, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.
I’ve written before about how Walt Disney and The Wonderful World of Disney was a very memorable part of my childhood and now here was a piece of it in front of me.
It’s been close to 30 years since I may have watched this film with my own children, but I can’t recall ever sitting down to watch it with them. I may have popped in a VHS and left it run while I worked. So most likely I hadn’t actually sat down and intently watched this movie for over 50 years.
When I started watching it this time, Pinocchio was searching the ocean to find his father Geppetto who had been swallowed by the whale Monstro. Pinocchio finally finds Monstro and is struggling not to be swallowed by the whale.
I remembered how I watch this as a child, so caught up in the story. I was filled with fear as Pinocchio was about to be swallowed by the whale. And I remember as I would be watching, the movie was my entire life at that moment. I was swept up in the moment, lost in the story, wondering what would happen to Pinocchio. Would he be saved? Would Pinocchio be able to save his father? Would good triumph over evil?
There was no cynicism, no being jaded by the outside world. Never did I think, how could Geppetto survive in the gastric juices of the whale’s belly? How could a wooden boy, a puppet talk? What did he eat and why, he’s just wood? Did he have wooden internal organs? If he did, how did they work? And never did I ask myself, how can a cricket talk and sing? All the crickets I knew kept me up at night and ended up dead in our outside basement steps.
Reality was easily suspended as I would dive head first into a world of color, scenery and great stories. I would watch and never have any other thoughts in my mind other than the story that was unfolding before my eyes. I wasn’t worried about bills, kids, a job or a boss. I wasn’t worried about what my friends were doing or what they or anyone else thought about me. All I was concerned about was what was going to happen to Pinocchio.
As I thought about how I felt as a child when I would watch these Disney animated films, I thought about how I could sweep any troubles aside and enter the make believe land. I’m sure the wonderful animation played a part in that. Each frame, each cell was a work of manmade art that filled my sense of sight. It still does today.
Watching it this time as an adult thoughts of work, family, cares and concerns held me back from once again diving head first into this world created by Walt Disney. When I was a child the cares of the world just weren’t that big. The world hadn’t infiltrated my person, my soul. As I grew older the cares became larger or maybe I just made them larger.
I think to myself what happened to that boy? What happened to the innocence of that boy, the innocence that allowed him to thoroughly enjoy the experience of this piece of art?
Then I realized, life got in the way. Each year filled my head with worldly cares. These worldly cares slowly filled the space in my heart until it was clogged, both figuratively and literally.
This is what Christ was talking about in Matthew 18:3, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of God.”
Some say that this is in reference to a childlike obedience to God, but I disagree.
What this means, is Christ is telling us to clear our hearts of the worldly cares that have slowly filled our hearts and return to the innocence of a child with an open heart. An open heart allows us to devote our mind and soul to righteousness, to delve head first into our spiritual world.
We must clear the clutter, make room in our hearts, let God reside in that space and then we can truly begin our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.