I Corinthians 13 has always been one of my favorite bible verses. (As a kid, I was frequently teased by ministers about this: "oh, planning on getting married soon?" I suppose I didn't realize it was a cliched wedding verse.) However, one part of the chapter has always bugged me. In verse 11, it says "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
I'm an adult now, but I don't think that I've grown up. I still have plenty of fun. Matt might kill me for writing this (good thing he doesn't read my blog), but today we went hiking and sang a song together using "meep"s instead of words. I like to be goofy and silly, and some of my greatest pleasures are coloring books, video games, board games, puzzles, and reading children's literature. Sometimes I'm embarrassed about my tastes. But most of the time, I take my dad's teachings to heart. I distinctly remember one sermon he gave where he talked about the importance of not being embarrassed to do things you like. Sing in front of the whole church, even if you're not a great soloist. Go play sports, even if you're not a pro athlete. Dance, read, be creative, grow things: follow your passions. You are you, and you can't apologize for that.
Imagine seeing a similar lesson in my current read. I'm working my way through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (a partner to her excellent blog, also called The Happiness Project). In her May chapter, "Be Serious about Play," she writes about starting a reading group for adults to discuss children's literature. Brilliant! And in the first email she sent to her group, she included the following CS Lewis quote from his essay "On Three Ways of Writing for Children":
When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
I Corinthians 13, while a beautiful verse, misses the mark on the topic of being an adult. In order to love truly, and to be faithful to ourselves, we must embrace our childlike side. In childhood, we can have absolute trust and faith in goodness, in truth, and in love. The greatest stories of true love that I can recall are written for children. It seems that as we grow into adulthood, we become jaded and clouded. To fully experience and embrace love, Paul should have written his flock to remember the wonder, joy, and beauty of being a child captivated by even the simplest parts of daily life.