There’s something incongruous about this old card cover. Two cutesy children four inches tall, hanging out on a mustering horseshoe, drinking a glass of wine? Creepiest thing, the ivy emerging from their backs. Ha ha, what does it mean?
Or, it’s a swing put up by the local fair which came to town. These two are very comfortable in their innocence, giving each other a side-hug. They’ve got on nice clothes, clean and with matching shoes. It’s not wine they’re holding, it’s berry juice made by Miss Cordelia the spinster and sold at one glass per penny! Or, perhaps they’re not children at all, but a young married couple. Wait a sec. That makes more sense!
I think that’s how we stumble about, trying to view life. In perceiving other people, we jump from innocence to alcoholic to creepy, back to innocence and then, ‘it’s okay they’re married.’.
In Victorian times there were a lot of downtrodden people working 6 and a half, 12-hour days a week. Maybe this was the only day in their young lives they could afford to dress up. Maybe this was their wedding party and after that back to work. Or maybe these were well-off children, playing in the innocence of freedom from anxiety, drinking a heady glass of youth.
However we view the realities of life, when it comes to people we need to realign our perceptions. Those kids we see walking around town wearing black- who are they to us? A snapshot of our own youth to be looked upon with fondness? Young people who thrust themselves too early into a stormy world? Angry youth dressing in rebellion to pronounce they intend to stick together against oppression? Or just kids, swinging through the mustering pathways of society, clinging on to each other and partying to hold onto the laughter of childhood?
Yes, and yes. Those are all precious people, my Lord says to me. In them, I see my own rebellion and my own innocence. I see the human spirit snapshoting moments of joy in the middle of the hard work of survival. I must love them like He does, without the negative spin. Judgement makes bold statements about who people are, and then it changes and finally fades when we look a little deeper into the eyes of their souls. We are all the same.