Playing like a Girl… A Baby Girl…

To our baby, everything is a puzzle. She has several toys designed as puzzles and some that aren’t. It’s fun to watch her curiosity at work especially since she has become so mobile lately. She can explore the room. She scoots around and squeals as she grabs and swats at any object she can reach.

Right now in fact, the wheels of the office chair have her attention. Usually though, she plays with something out of her pink fabric box of treasures. She has several puzzle style toys that she attempts to figure out. A stack of translucent plastic stars fit over a central peg, and she bangs them around, wanting them to slide on. There is a cartoony zebra with a channel built in to accept square plastic blocks, and she can sometimes make them ride all the way down.

Basically, she is constantly unceasingly learning to unlock the systems and mechanics of the world around her. For now, it may be just how a hard cardboard book opens and closes, or how the beads slide along a spiral metal rod. These are simple things but important to her. She wants to make them do, what she can get them to do. And taste every one of them too.

What is different about our 8 month old, than of me, or of you? Don’t we all just want to know the solutions to the puzzles we see around us in life? I sure do. I am racked with curiosity about how our world really works. I spend almost all of my free time playing with that question. It really is the same at my jobs as well.

I want to find out how a restaurant works best. I want to explore the possible options of managing our menu, our inventory, our systems and our people too. Working to design tee shirts, which I have done for 20 years, I still start with a blank page almost every time, working with the puzzle pieces provided to create something ‘cool.’ There is so much to learn everyday, and just like JoJo, I am banging around clumsily, just seeing what happens when I try.

There is nothing special about our baby, that isn’t inborn into each child on earth. I am positive that we all have innate curiosity woven into our very core being.

There are times of exhaustion or of frustration, where maybe we all just want to space out and veg. Playing hard and solving puzzles all day can tire us out, and we will want warm milk and a nap. It is interesting though, that our daughter can be so naïve about the bigger world around her, and yet completely content playing in the small space she occupies.

That is how I operate as well. I have a realm that I have crawled around. I have grabbed at it and pulled toys off the shelves that I could reach. In the bigger picture however, it is but the 5 x 7 living room rug. The wide universe of possibilities is much larger. Back and forth around the room, day in and out, I try to solve what I can see in front of me.  Rarely though, do I try to get out of the room itself.

There is a creator God watching me, knowing my little routines, my smallness. God is aware of my curiosities too. Every once in a while He provides an opening.  I’ll notice a new doorway as I pass by again. These opportunities if taken, are monumental shifts of the mind, some good and fun, but some challenging. Crossing new thresholds into the unknown can unnerve.

The curiosity though, of finding out more, about the depth and breadth and the keys to the puzzle of life itself are too tantalizing to pass up. Just like JoJo, I usually must explore, what I can explore, for my own good or not.

Joella may want to go back someday to the simplicity of playing contently with a small box of plastic toys on a sunny Friday morning at home with her Daddy. She may someday find herself far away from the peacefulness of a moment like this. I may want to return here too. It’s so awesome to watch her little mind at work. I pray that both our curiosities don’t take us too far away from here, but I think they will.

We’re all just trying to figure this ‘life’ thing out. We all can just see what we can see.  We can’t see the wider context that our observer can see us inhabiting. I am trying, and finding out by failing and failing again to whet the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that our Creator ignited within.

Until next week, be curious my friends.


Aaron Nichols

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