I feel like I have spent most of this last week on a variety of buses – some of which are lovely, comfortable and don’t smell, others of which resemble steel-framed bacteria labs. But the point is that all this time on public transit has afforded me a lot of leisure to think.
I hate to say it, but this week my thinking took a path towards the discouraging, to the point where Friday night – on my way home from a Czech language/baking lesson – I ended up asking God, “Really, what’s the point? Why am I here? Why are any of us here?”
In order to explain how a good girl, brought up in the church and spoon-fed catechism and theology from a wee little age, could possibly question why we even exist, doubt God or doubt his eternally divine goodness, I need to take you back to Tuesday.
Exchanging the toy camera from the nursery for a real one from who-knows-where.
“I want a biscuit!”
The very sincere pout-whimper combo came from the corner where stood a troubled child who did more to sanctify me in a week than a whole semester of college. We’ll call him Vytek.
Eileen, the lovely woman running the nursery program for English Camp in the šumava mountains, would wrap Vytek in her arms and instruct him, “Say, ‘I don’t want to obey, but Jesus will help me obey.’ Jesus will help us to obey.”
“I want to be obeyed,” was his opinionated reply.
Vytek is four years old and though I don’t like to diagnose children with disorders, I think it’s accurate to say he has more difficulty sitting still than the average munchkin. He also speaks very good English. British English.
It took me, Eileen and our translator Pavlina about an hour to figure out that “biscuit” means “cookie.” It did not take us long to figure out that this little shish-ka-bob also spoke very good Czech (like most kids with at least one Czech parent…). He’d switch in between the two languages like gears in a car so that even Pavlina could not keep up.
I’m not especially great with kids. That is to say, I don’t mind watching 0-4 year olds play for 45 minutes during church service but working an organized program for 3 hours where the children are supposed to listen, learn and occasionally sit still is more than I tend to have the patience for. I regret to say my attitude at the beginning of that very long week may not have been entirely Christ-like even if I managed to fake it pretty passably.