Any birthday or family occasion was marked by a trip to Miss Maud’s. I have so many beautiful memories there, going right back to as early as the age of 4.
What I remember most, aside from the fond family memories that are now more precious than ever with Kristian’s passing, is the corridor leading to the restrooms. As a small child, that corridor seemed endless, long, loud and kind of scary. The kitchen doors were located at the end of it, and the floor (growing up) was made of rubber mats. I would hesitantly open the big door that lead to the restrooms and with haste, hurry my way down the roaring hallways that seemed deafeningly loud and somewhat scary to a 4 year old.
I remember the surge of adrenaline in my little legs after I had made it out – alive!
Over the years, I moved away from Perth and have been blessed to live in many places – Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, even in Canada for a brief stint, and the memories of that hallway faded, like many other things in Perth. It became a distant memory of my childhood and nothing more. But a few years ago, my family relocated to Perth and I lived there for a 2 year period before I moved to Melbourne to get married, and as was tradition, we went to Miss Maud’s once again. Only this time, the hallway that had so frightened me, seemed so long, dark, mysterious and noisy turned out to be.. well, tiny. And I wondered at why it had seemed so scary in the first place.
Tonight, on visiting my mum in Perth, we dined at Miss Maud’s. And again, I marveled at how small that hallway really was through my adult eyes. No matter how hard I tried, I could not envision it the way I had through my 4 year old eyes, nor could I really work out why I had been so in awe and fear of that hallway in a family restaurant. And it got me to thinking…
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 v 11:
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became an adult, I put away childish things.” but the Bible also says that Jesus said that unless we change to become like a child, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
I think back to the 4 year old who felt unsafe in that corridor, and I think to the 30 year old I am now, and how silly that seemed. But then a part of me envies my 4 year old perspective. That corridor seemed so dark and frightening because I was a small, vulnerable child who was afraid of things I didn’t have control over and didn’t understand. I couldn’t demand the corridor to be brighter, or for an adult to accompany me every time I needed the bathroom, although that became the solution for being so afraid of the corridor. But when you’re small and powerless, it’s easy to be fearful.
These days, though corridors don’t scare me so much (alleyways in Melbourne are sometimes a different story..) I remind myself when my fears do present themselves in my life, to imagine the perspective of an older, wiser me. Or more correctly, of my God, who is in control of every situation that presents itself in my life. But I am also reminded of the upside of 4 year old perspective: the intrinsic knowing, that unshakable trust, that having someone bigger than you to walk with you through those scary hallways makes all the difference in the world to your fear. You can be in control of everything, be successful, be strong physically and feel on top of the world, but the internal feeling of being small and vulnerable is always there, waiting to present itself at the next corridor.
The main difference between 4 year old me and 30 year old me is that 4 year old me knew I could trust that bigger power to keep me safe, even if I didn’t like the situation I was in. 30 year old me just tries to be in control of it all. The 30 year old in me tells myself that being scared is stupid, because I can control the situations I put myself in.
The 30 year old me has forgotten that fear is a strong emotion, but God is stronger. And that sometimes, asking for someone to hold your hand through the dark hallways of life is not only OK, but essential.
Maybe in 20 years time I’ll look back on the situations in my life now that cause me fear or doubt and see them the way I now see the hallway at Miss Maud’s. But for now, it’s really encouraging to be reminded that I can ask my heavenly Father to walk with me through those corridors until I feel brave enough in myself.
And that one day I’ll realize that those corridors aren’t so scary after all, but that I have someone to walk them with me, afraid or not.