You know – the older I get, the more I realize that I am not any different from my kids. Quite a few years ago, our whole family piled into our van and headed to Michigan for my sister Rachel’s wedding. It was a long trip, about 9 hours, with 7 of us in one vehicle so we passed a lot of the time by listening to the radio and talking. If you can remember that far back, this was same the weekend that that Pope John Paul II died, which meant that we couldn’t listen to the radio without hearing news about his death. There were news reports, continuous updates, talk-show segments, etc. It seemed that everything we listened to was about the pope. After many hours of pope reports, pope news, pope updates, and pope facts – it became a bit of a running joke for one of us to turn to another and sarcastically ask, “Hey, did you hear that the pope died?” Through all of this, our two kids, Marilyn and Sam, were mostly reading books and playing games so they were only paying attention to the rest of us intermittently.
As we headed towards Canada that weekend on our way home from Michigan, an inquisitive little voice came from the back seat… it was Sam, who was seven years old at the time. Quite sincerely, he asked, “Who’s the poop?” Once we got through a bit of a chuckle, we explained that the pope was the head of the Catholic church and many people consider him to be a very important person which is why there were so many reports about him. Sam listened intently and when he was satisfied that he had a firm grasp of the situation he went back to whatever he had been doing. During our conversation, Marilyn had been listening to music on her headphones and she had not heard our conversation with Sam, so she asked the same question a little bit later, “Who’s the pope?” Sam, eager to use his newfound knowledge, proudly proclaimed to his sister, “Don’t you know? The pope is the head of the Cataract Church.”
This story serves as a reminder to me that whenever I am sure that I have things figured out – when I am certain that I know exactly what is going on, I just might be very wrong. I need to be very careful to keep my eyes open and to always be prepared to learn something new. The more that I study things, particularly the Bible, the more I realize how inexperienced and ignorant I truly am. Quite often, I learn the most about that which I thought there was nothing left to learn about.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. – Proverbs 3:7
By insolence comes nothing but strife,
but with those who take advice is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10