My four-year-old daughter told me the other day that there were some people in her class that she was friends with but they weren’t friends with her.
“I’m friends with them but they just don’t like me!” she said with an inquisitive look on her face, as though it was impossible for anyone not to like her, “I’m nice to them and tell them they’re my friend but all they say is ‘you’re not my friend any more’ and I just don’t know why!”
As it is with most toddlers, it’s hard to grasp what may be simple for some of us “more jaded” adults.
“You know honey,” I told her as I got down to her level,”If you were a peach, you would be the juiciest, ripest, and most nutritious, most perfect peach in the whole orchard!”
A cute little grin started to form on her lips and looked up at me from under her brow while batting her eyes at me. She knows I adore her.
“I know daddy,” She chirped back.
I then responded, “But unfortunately, no matter how juicy, ripe, nutritious or perfect you are… there are going to be some people out there who just don’t like peaches.”
I could sense the wheels turning in her brain. Before this moment, she believed that it was an unbreakable rule that you had to like everyone NO MATTER WHAT!! Now she realized that that wasn’t the case.
Seeing a child come to that conclusion is somewhat disheartening. Her faith in humanity (which will ultimately be whittled away) has suffered its first blow. Yet every learning opportunity, despite how sad, can be used as a way to show your love even more.
“You’re in luck though,” I say to her coyly, “Because I LOVE PEACHES!!”
She sensed my need to take huge bite out of her and then ran screaming and giggling into the next room with me in close pursuit.
Several days later, before dropping my daughter off at school, she asked me, “Daddy, why did those men put nails in Jesus’ hands and feet if he was so nice and good?”
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at the severity of her question. I mean, that’s a damn good question! How do you explain to a four-year-old why the greatest man who ever walked the Earth was crucified?
“Honey, that is a great question,” I told her, “We’re about to pull into your school so I’m gonna have to think of a good answer to give you,” I said rather flustered.
My daughter is almost five years old and I still have a need to protect her from the horrors of what the world can bring, so I was hesitant to really explain in depth to what the story of The Passion and how and why it happened. In time it would be revealed to her but for right now her perspective on the fallen world is refreshing.
“That’s okay daddy, I already know why.”
“Oh really?” I replied, “I’m interested to hear what you have to say!”
“He is the juiciest peach! Juicier than me!”
My jaw hit the floor. OBVIOUSLY! Why couldn’t I have thought to say that! If Jesus had been a peach, he would have been the most amazing peach you ever tasted. In fact, every time you took a bite from the peach, it would regenerate into a whole peach again (I’m assuming)!
Imagine the juice Jesus was dishing out! Everyone was entitled to the juice but not everyone liked it because to some people peach juice is gross. To some people, the very mention of peaches makes their gag reflex start to act up.
It’s the cruel nature of the fallen Eden. From Gods vantage point, we have all had the opportunity to love peaches. Unfortunately, we may have gotten one that was slightly spoiled or one that had a worm in it or another that was stuck in Jell-O and you hate Jell-O, or you’d just eaten a double cheeseburger right beforehand or something along those lines. Regardless of how you’ve seen or tasted a peach, it doesn’t take away from the fact that if one is raised correctly it is delicious.
Jesus was the perfect peach. If you tasted what he was dishing out, you’d never want anything but peaches.
I’m hardly a tasty peach. I’ve got stains on me. I’ve been dropped a few times. I’ve been sprayed with some pesticides. A tick crawled across my face once and I hate those things. But if you wash me off and cut out the bad areas the basic idea of a peach is still there. The love of Jesus is the juice from the peach that makes it so beautifully addictive. It’s all in us… we just have to know where to find it.
My daughter is a tasty peach. No “bruises”. No “stains”. No “pesticides” or “ticks” on her. She is pure and full of love… something that the world needs a little more of. It becomes increasingly more evident to me, that if we want to live in a world where peace and love eat fear and hate for breakfast, then perhaps we need to see the world through a child’s eyes because isn’t that what Jesus told us to do?
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3
We’re all spoiled, moldy peaches with worms in us and ticks crawling over our faces. But, with a little help from The Gardener… we can all become the juiciest, most beautiful peaches the world has ever seen.