I parked my car, got out and started up the sidewalk toward the front porch of my childhood home. I wondered if I had made a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong address. Nope, the address was on the mailbox, 1226 North Street. This was a not mistake. This was the old home place where I had grown up. Although I hadn’t seen the old house for years, my childhood feelings and visions overtook my adult practicality and I was captured by the phantoms of my little boy memories.
Drifting off in thought to the long, slick concrete front porch, painted green, I recalled how we flooded it with millions of gallons of water from our make-believe firehouse hose. We would then back up to Mr. Marshall’s fence and run for the polished porch, hit it on our knees and slide at speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour. As we slid we prayed that our slide path would line up with the kid catcher, so he could stop us from falling into the bottomless pit at the end of the porch. You see, if you fell off the porch’s end, there were thousands of poisonous snakes waiting to put their juice in you. But if you did go over the edge, you would be dead until you counted backwards from one-hundred to one. So we slid as much as we wanted to until Daddy came home from work and turned off the little green garden hose.
Next, my time machine imagination landed at the base of our gigantic oak tree in the front yard. The one that held our tree house, at least a thousand discarded tire swings, and multiple hand sawn swing boards–those evil swings that had deliberately broken several fragile little bones. Wow, what a tree it was! It was higher than the power poles, the television antennas and the Empire State Building. Our entire gang was not able to hold hands and circle that monster oak. We’d even watched bald eagles perching in the top branches of that majestic tree.
However, my most colorful thoughts were of the roof of that old house from which I used to fly. That’s right, fly. When I was a little boy, I could fly. All it took was one of mother’s big bath towels tied around my neck and instantly I became Superman. I would shimmy up the vent pipe on the side of the house and up onto the roof. Then from the side of the house, I would make my way to the launching pad at the front of the house. From there I would kick off into the clear blue sky, wind in my face, flying faster than a speeding bullet, cape blowing in the wind and outrunning every locomotive. I would sail for hours on end before finally floating to the ground. Landing in fine form with my cape still attached, I was always met by Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen waiting to interview their hero.
All of a sudden, I hit the hard ground of reality. I opened my eyes to discover a quaint little house that could surely not be the citadel of my childhood. I felt like Gulliver staring in awe at the Lilliputians. The house had shrunk; the huge oak tree had shriveled into a less than majestic maple. As I stepped up to my Superman launching pad roofline, I realized I could reach it standing flatfooted. Well at least the super slide front porch still seemed as large as ever, but what about the drop off at the porch’s end—the bottomless pit with all the snakes? It, too, had disappeared and was now only about a foot and a half from the top of the porch to the ground.
I now had to confront the truth. None of these things had changed, only me; I was the one that had changed. I had outgrown the imaginations of my Metropolis. Nevertheless, I dare say that all those things were as real to me in my childhood as are my dreams, goals, desires and my commitment to Christ today. Although I had changed, I knew in my heart there would never be an occasion where I would be disillusioned by a God that never changes. Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not;”
I encourage you to be a dreamer for God and to be a visionary for the cause of Christ. Your dreams of today may be your accomplishments for the Kingdom of God tomorrow. My childhood recollections appeared to have decreased in size because I had increased in stature; however, it happens the opposite way for those committed to Christ. The smaller we become, the bigger the Lord lives in us.
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease”