Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mud Pies

Once upon a time there was a little boy. This little boy loved to play with mud. Unfortunately, his mother did not like him to play with mud because then she had the difficult task of cleaning him off. One day she offered him a deal: she’d take him to the beach for a day if he would leave off playing with mud that day.

The little boy thought about his mom’s offer. Regretfully, he had no idea what the beach really was. He’d heard of sand: that it was nice. He’d heard of the ocean: that it was beautiful and satisfying to look at and play in. The more he thought about it though, the more he wanted to play with mud. Mud was familiar, he’d been playing with it all of his life. He just couldn’t imagine how spending a day at the beach could make up for playing with the pleasant mud. So he refused his mother’s offer. As delightful as a day at the beach could be, he would rather stick with the familiar—and dirty—mud.

We bear many similarities to this little boy. While we could put away our lives of self-centeredness and pursue eternal rewards, we cannot seem to imagine what more life could hold, and so stay with what is comfortable. C.S. Lewis phrases it this way, “Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

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