I think I have written about holding Nathan’s hand before. It is something that grabs my attention over and over again, though so I wanted to write about it again.
Nathan and I like to play “Ninja Warrior” I set up courses and act as the announcer. Nathan plays the part of the athlete acting out fantasies of the guys on TV. Yesterday was a bright warm day tucked in between days of rain so we wrung every last bit of daylight out of the sky before we came inside. Eventually the backyard became Mt. Midoriyama and once again Nathan was tackling the course.
Of the obstacles I set up for him was a long log that he needed to balance on and walk across. It was small and sort of wobbly and even I had fallen off when I was showing him the course so I was pretty sure he would have some trouble with it. Nathan was pretty sure too because as soon as he got to the edge of the log and was ready to step up he shot his hand up in the air to grab hold of mine. The action for him was instinct. He didn’t ponder whether or not he wanted my help he just knew that he couldn’t make it across without me so his hand shot up in the air.
But here comes the twist. I didn’t take it. It hurt me, even in that small controlled space I wanted to grab his hand and help him to walk across that log, but I didn’t. I didn’t because the game was that he make it across on his own. I didn’t take his hand because I wanted him to learn to walk without me.
Even as I type that it makes me a little sad. The fact that his whole life really is learning to walk without me is a hard thing for a dad to swallow sometimes, but it is true.
As I sat there and watched him step off the log time and time again I kept thinking about God and how he helps us. I wish that I had the instinct to reach up for him even before things get to the point where I am falling. I wish I would reach for him even before I took the first step.
But I also thought about how sometimes God does for us what I did for Nathan. He lets us walk through it on our own. We may mess up, in fact we often do, but we learn. We learn and we gain confidence. We learn and then we are able to face little logs without fear. We learn and when the big logs, the logs across chasms come our way we can be confident and reach out our hand for God and face bigger things.
A truth to glean from a child’s game modeled after a Japanese game show.