By Peter Heck
Apparently because they realized they could make a few extra dollars, the folks at EPCOT have decided to extend their annual Food & Wine Festival to encompass pretty much the entire calendar year – because families in line for the “Frozen Ever After” boat ride just can’t get enough of loud, drunk, and obnoxious adults pretending they’re 20.
Sorry, I digress.
My wife and I were standing with our three children in the long queue for one of their favorite rides, Soarin. Behind us, two of those not-really-inebriated-but-certainly-have-had-enough-to-drop-all-inhibitions adult men were loudly discussing their frustrations with life. As I stood there holding my six-year-old daughter Bristol, I had no idea that she was intently watching their animated conversation. That is until one of them became annoyed with the speed of our line and shouted, “JESUS F****** CHRIST, let’s go!”
Jenny and I looked at each other and I figured it was my place to say something. But before I could even turn around, Bristol popped her head up and looked at them and said almost as loudly, “Jesus?! We know Him! Do you go to church?!”
There were “awes” from several of the other families around us who turned around to look. For his part, the man sheepishly apologized to me and then responded to her, “Well yes, sometimes I do. But I guess not as often as I should.”
People laughed, Bristol asked and found out his name was Manny. She told him that he could come to our church if he wanted to, and he thanked her. The three kids proceeded to entertain Manny and his friend, badgering them with questions for the next 30 minutes in that line before we parted.
The whole scene amazed me as I thought about my own witness and approach to engaging the world. Though had I said what Bristol did to Manny he would have obviously seen it as sarcastic and punched me in the face, I think there’s still an important lesson there about innocence and genuine kindness in the way we deal with those who don’t act like we know they should.
As we prayed for Manny that night, I silently prayed for myself as well. That I would be more like Bristol. That I would remember what Jesus said as He pulled a young child like her onto His lap and assured us, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
May we all heed those words and humble ourselves with such purity and innocence.