prone to wander.

Atticus and I have been walking the streets of our neighborhood, counting political signs and dogs and (of course) trucks. He cranes his head to look for airplanes from the comfort of his stroller. We talk about his day. We watch the leaves fall.

Mike made a playlist that features songs we think Atticus can easily grab onto. “Help” and “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles, “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit. But lately he has listened to quite a bit of Mumford & Sons. His favorite is “I Will Wait,” and his little voice echoes the chorus, “I will wait, I will wait for you.” The best response is when “Hopeless Wanderer” plays. His whole body moves to the music when the banjos kick in.

So when your hope’s on fire
But you know your desire
Don’t hold a glass over the flame
Don’t let your heart grow cold
I will call you by name
I will share your road

But hold me fast, hold me fast
‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer
Hold me fast, hold me fast
I’m a hopeless wanderer

I see in Atticus a certain restlessness that I recognize. From the outside, it may not look it – married 12 years, been at the same church 9 years, worked as a librarian for the same amount of time – but I have a restless heart. Is this part of what it means to live in this world? Or is it part of the already/not yet that is being a follower of Jesus?

I sing to him that I am a hopeless wanderer, and I am afraid of teaching him to be the same. But maybe he already knows it without learning it from me.

And I will learn, I will learn
To love the skies I’m under

Is it so bad to open your heart to new experiences, to see the world as a gift to be opened? Can I teach him restlessness without faithlessness? We walk and sing together, and I think about what it means to wander.

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6 Comments

  1. Susan

    This is the one that gets me, too. I love both “I will learn to love the skies I’m under” and “I will call you by name, I will share your road” – such a gorgeous dichotomy, that we can both wander and be known and loved and walked with…

    Posted 10/9/2012 at | Permalink
  2. Nancy

    I love this picture! Where is that?

    There is something wonderful about wandering and wondering – something that is probably necessary to opening our hearts to those new experiences and the things God will teach us through them. And no doubt necessary to seeing the world as “a gift to be opened” – I really like that phrase. It is so important that you teach / let Atticus wander and wonder rather than over-protect him from his own questions and doubts. Perhaps being restless is being faithful, not faithless – wanting to know more and more of God – including this intriguing world he has given us – not being satisfied with just bits of the story. It is such a gift to have the opportunity to get new glimpses of life, the world, God himself, through a child’s eyes.

    Posted 10/9/2012 at | Permalink
  3. I took that picture at a wedding over the summer. The reception was at a farm with horses.

    Posted 10/10/2012 at | Permalink
  4. Mark Allman

    Teach him to have purpose in his wandering; to have an anchor he can put down when need be; to have a place he can come back to for encouragement and refreshment.

    Posted 10/11/2012 at | Permalink
  5. Nancy

    I saw a t-shirt in Beaufort this weekend with a J.R.R. Tolkien quote on the back: “Not all who wander are lost.” Made me think of this post. Should have bought you the shirt…

    Posted 10/14/2012 at | Permalink
  6. I have a bit of a restless heart too. I can really relate to this.

    Posted 10/16/2012 at | Permalink

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