a follower

"Come, follow me."

One of the most important images for me to visualize the life of Jesus is a child. "You must turn and become like a child," Jesus said. I remember writing in my journal years ago about Jesus giving us a child as our example. It's an important image.

But it may be that I'm getting to that age when it's harder to make that child image work. The analogy gets more abstract, and so it feels less powerful for me. I still want to be childlike, but most of the situations I find myself in are unquestionably adult. At a certain age, people start expecting you to take over the care of things, make sure the necessary things get done. And then there's parenthood. Seeing a parent with a real child makes it very difficult to see how envisioning myself as a child will be helpful in that situation. It is true we are all children before God, it's just that the image has its limits for us older folks, I think.

As I grapple more with taking care of things (and perhaps children) as an adult, I'm feeling drawn more to the image of follower. Like the relationship between the disciples and Jesus. It's clearly an adult relationship. But it puts us in the place of humility and dependence much like the child-parent relationship. In which we are not the one in charge, not the one responsible, not the one leading the way, we are just following. And, like with the disciples, it can certainly express our love for the one we forsake everything to follow. I can see myself as an adult, responding to adult situations, as a follower. I can see myself providing care for others as a follower.

That feels good to me. What is asked of me is not to take charge, but to follow the one I love.