I don’t remember being bored as a kid.
Living on the farm where there weren’t any other kids my age to play with, I usually found things to do outside by myself. This was when I learned how much I love animals. I had dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, a tiny turtle from Woolworths, a salamander named Sally, baby raccoons, and rescued baby birds. I even hatched a baby bird in an Easter basket on top of the warm television on Easter Sunday. I also had a mean pet rooster. He disappeared around the time when we got invited over to the neighbors for a fried chicken dinner.
I tried to dig to China. I built tents on the clothesline and playhouse floorplans out of rocks. I tried to get lost in the cornfield, lay in the tall grass in the pasture, watched the clouds, and did “scientific experiments” that probably weren’t such a good idea. Still, God had me covered and kept me safe. I watched the baby pigs and once tried to save one that was being crushed by its mother. I had a rock collection under my bed that was mainly pretty gravel.
I learned to love reading and often searched the encyclopedia for fun topics. I created art projects that I came up with myself, sometimes getting ideas from Highlights Magazine. I enjoyed looking through the JC Penney, Sears, and Montgomery Ward “Wish Books”, circling my choices for Santa. I made Christmas trees out of magazines with the pages folded over. I climbed the neighbor’s apple tree. Sometimes I just sat outside and observed my surroundings. During one of these times of quiet contemplation at around age 10, I became acutely aware of God’s presence in my life and that I had a soul. Sometimes I was afraid.
My freedom as a child allowed me to become responsible for my entertainment and grow in self-sufficiency, perhaps too much. I lacked social skills and was known by many as spoiled with a lack of self-control while simultaneously withdrawing into myself for safety. While one person might scold me for my rowdy behavior, another might try to draw me out and tell me to play with the others. It was confusing to me.
Later, I learned that a trusting dependence on someone who gently guides and protects us in our youth opens the door to trusting a loving God to direct our adult paths. Some of us have to go through a living hell before we can admit and submit. We must acknowledge that our self-sufficiency is a farce and submit to the sovereignty of God over our lives. Therein lies the difference between a sad life full of self-love or hate, and a fruitful life teeming with the love of God.
Do not put your trust in princes—in man, in whom there is no salvation. His breath departs, he returns to his dust. In that very day, his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Adonai his God, Psalm 146:3-5 TLV