Saturday, January 24, 2009

With just a clap

In my tiny, cupped hands I held the power that controls the universe. 

I didn't realize it was even possible until that one moment when everything in the world was under my direction and command.

I was likely 8 or 9, and it was December 24, the night my dad's side always celebrates Christmas. I remember driving home late, or what seemed late, that frosty, winter night. Just after embarking on our twenty minute drive home, my mom sadly remembers we'd forgotten to turn on our Christmas lights.

Even as a child, I knew Christmas was a magical time of year. It was when special things happened. Extraordinary things. It started with the birth of Jesus, the most extraordinary of all, and carried through the centuries. This night, I wanted something extraordinary to happen. With everything in me, I believed that if I prayed, God would give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights at my house with a single, red-gloved clap.

I cupped my hands and recited this prayer until I was just two blocks from my house: Please give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights. Please give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights. Over and over I said it, truly believing I would receive the power to do this absurd, insignificant task.

Now, some 14 years later, I can't remember the last time I had that kind of faith in anything. Yes, I have faith in God, but do I pray like I prayed then, believing that God would answer anything? Yes, I have faith in myself, but do I believe I'll actually ever make my dreams come true and live a life that makes a difference? Yes, I have faith in my friendships, but do I honestly think they'll last through life's many seasons in this huge world?

That December night just two blocks away from my house having prayed the entire way home, I clapped my hands. As we turned onto our road nearing the house, we saw it lit up, illuminating the black, velvety sky around it. I just smiled as my mom said she guessed we did remember to turn on the lights. I knew the truth. I was the one who turned the Christmas lights on. It was my belief that made it happen. For that one instant God had given me the power to do something completely out of my control.

The following week I was out playing in the snow and decided I wanted to fly. I knew I could do it if I prayed for God to give me the power. So I did just that. I trampled through the snow in my back yard with cupped hands praying this: God, please give me the power to fly. God, please give me the power to fly.

After what I deemed a sufficient amount of time, I climbed up on a picnic table, clapped my nearly frostbitten hands, held my arms up like Superman and jumped fully expecting to soar through the chilly air.

I didn't. I jumped and fell to the ground. So I walked around and prayed the same prayer for even longer, thinking maybe I didn't give God enough time to put the power in my hands and being very careful to keep my fingers squeezed tightly together so no power could fall through.

I tried it again and the same thing happened. I fell. I didn't understand, but it didn't bother me. I just accepted I wasn't supposed to fly. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't do it. And I was okay with that.

After reminiscing on this incident in my life I've decided something: Lessons can always be learned from those who approach the world with a youthful mind and attitude.