Thursday, January 14, 2010

My son - Bigger on the Inside than the Outside

It seems that my youngest son makes his way into my blogs far more than my eldest son does. I don’t know why this is the case. Certainly, it’s not planned. And it’s not as though the younger son is anymore religious than the older one. My oldest son once spent an entire school holidays reading the bible. And he’s always eager to talk about God or Jesus or something to do with Christianity. He’s just asked for religious podcasts to be placed onto his iPod. This includes episodes of Paul Camarata’s Saintcast. So I’m expecting that, by the end of these school holidays, he’ll know more about the saints than I do. (Not that that’s saying a lot.)

That’s not to say that my son’s only interest is God. He likes Lego and learning about inventions and space and the environment. He gets out in the backyard and collects bugs and leafs and does experiments. And like most boys, he loves his Playstation.

And then there’s Dr Who. My son loves Dr Who. Each month, we get delivered a couple of DVDs, with pages that are separated and filed into a folder. I am sure he’s seen every episode we have at least five times – and he’s read the pages at least a few times more. Although I’m not quite sure why he needs to continue reading them. Because he seems to have soaked up every ounce of knowledge that’s in there. If I happen to have any question about Dr Who at all, my son will know the answer. He even knows a fair bit about Dr Who episodes from the older series, which he has never seen.

Now anyone who watches Dr Who – and maybe some of you who don’t – will know that Dr Who travels through time and space in a TARDIS. And a TARDIS is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

I think that’s a fair description of my son. Bigger on the inside than the outside. One reason why I may have talked about my younger son more is that my younger son says more. He’s constantly talking, telling me about this and that and everything else that’s on his mind. My oldest son doesn’t say nearly as much. I think he’s too busy thinking to talk.

There are many times when I will find him completely lost in thought. So much so that he often doesn’t even seem to notice what’s going on around him. When we are all eating dinner or going for a walk, my youngest son and I will be having a great conversation and my oldest son is just staring off into outer space. I am sure that my son has been to more places in his head than Dr Who (in all ten regenerations) has ever been to in the TARDIS.

And from a mother’s perspective, this can be fairly annoying at times. It is so frustrating to tell both boys where we are going and what we are doing, only to have my 10 year old say, five minutes later, ‘Why are we going here?’ Or to watch him practically run into people, because he’s not paying any attention to what’s going on around him. I’m sure he goes to some very interesting places in his head, but I do wish he would spend a bit more time down here on earth with us humans.

Yet at the same time I think being bigger on the inside than the outside is a pretty good trait to have. Certainly, when it comes to our spirituality, we should all be bigger on the inside. Our inner spirituality should be so much deeper than our outside spirituality. And if we could open the door and take a look inside, there should be a depth and breadth that would never have been imagined from outward appearances.

Unfortunately, it’s not always the case. In Matthew 27:28, Jesus told the Pharisees that they are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead man’s bones and filthiness. And even those who are not so unclean on the inside, may be paying more attention to their outward appearance.

There’s a saying that you what you feed, grows, and what you starve, dies. Some people are too focused on feeding their outward spirituality than they neglect their inner spirituality. So their appearance of being a religious person grows, while their inner life slowly shrinks. Opening the door to their inside life may be less like opening the door to a police phone box and finding the TARDIS, and more like opening the door to a palace and finding a wardrobe.

I am confident that my son’s inner spirituality is bigger than his outer spirituality. There are times when I go to switch off his light at night, after he has been reading, and it’s only because I happen to look up at the right time that I see he has been reading the bible. And then there’s the comments and questions that he suddenly comes out with, that shows he has been thinking a great deal about something related to his Christian faith. I think that if I opened the door to his inward spirituality, I would be quite amazed at what I might actually see. At least I hope so.

And I also hope that, although my inner spiritual life may not be the size of the TARDIS, it may always be at least a little bit bigger than it seems from outward appearances.

Note: When I read this post out to my son, as he was standing behind me, he informed me that Tardis should actually be TARDIS. So you can thank my son for the fact that TARDIS should now be written the right way.

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