The Eyes of a Child

9 02 2020

Six years ago, I received word that they were tearing down the junior high Cathy and I Gymattended back in Fremont, Ohio. This brought a bit sadness because I had many good memories of that old building. I struggled with learning during my elementary school days, but thanks to a wonderful and diligent tutor who wouldn’t give up on me; I received the best grades I ever had during my 7th through 9th grade years. Being rather backwards and shy as a youngster, I made new friends at the junior high, some I’m still close to over a half a century later. I took interesting classes like speech and drama that helped with my confidence. And of course, a memory that brings a smile, I met my first girlfriend. It was in a great centralized location in town that was close to places like Woolworth’s and Kresge’s where you could meet up with friends after school for a soda or shake at their lunch counter.  So, to hear that they were tearing it down and building a new building out by the high school which would be more efficient and larger, well it tugged on my heartstrings a bit. I didn’t understand why they needed a bigger building; that place was huge, biggest building I had ever been in and it did just fine when I went there. So, when I read they would be having an open house to go through the school one more time before they tore it down, we knew we had to make the trip back to walk the halls one last time. Too small and obsolete a building? Ridiculous!’

We arrived at the open house with some friends that also had attended there. Same old building on the outside, but it sure looked different upon entry, at least from what my memory recalled. The swimming pool could be seen from a window and for some odd reason someone had made it smaller. There was no way we had swim class and meets in that tiny wading pool. What’s up with that?! Making our way around to our old classrooms, they definitely seemed different. These seemed smaller also and even a bit run down. Making our way to the lunchroom I had to wonder how in the world they fed all the kids in this area. The last jolt to my childhood memory was entering the auditorium where assemblies and special events were held. The stage was also the gym where we had class and basketball games were played. Now just a cotton pickin’ minute, I know this room was bigger! They would put every kid and teacher in the school in this space. We had award ceremonies, band and choir concerts, special guest speakers, even saw famous Woody Herman, famous jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and singer during the big band era there. Shoot, I even did my first drum solo in that room. What happened!! Truth was memories from my young teenage years were blown out of proportion, and now my nearly 60-year-old eyes was seeing reality. As a child, this place was massive, but as an adult I saw that this dear old building with so many fond memories had run its course and was now obsolete.

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” Author unknown.

We all go through those moments as children when everything around us is new, exciting, sometimes scary and so, so big. But as we age, we realize not all was as it seemed. Our memory tells one story and then reality catches up with us later. Perhaps the same thing can be said about the Christian life. As a child, we hear the Bible stories, sings the songs, memorize the Bible verses and are happy in the Lord. But for some; when the reality of the world around them closes in with age, they see and think differently. One starts to wonder if the early days and lessons were real and perhaps disillusion sets in. But truth of the matter is they were, just as my memories of junior high. The building wasn’t exactly as I remembered, but the other memories were factual. The lessons on life and the friendships made during that time are more precious than gold to me just like the lessons a child learns about Jesus. Yes, as an adult you’re no longer sheltered from all the world has to throw at you and it becomes hard at times to believe like you did as a child. But the truth is God is still there for you, still sees you, still loves and won’t leave you.

Mark 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

Once again, I like how C.S. Lewis puts it, “Christ wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.”

To the many “Travelers of the Rock Road” that shared those three years at Fremont Junior High with me, thank you for all the adventures and memories we share; it was an awesome time of life! To the brothers or sisters in Christ that struggle with knowing Him in your adult years, go back to those childlike years. it just may be what you need to discover a love that’s still there.

See ya next time.


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