I've been seeing those movie adverts lately--the one in particular that says, "Say goodbye to innocence". And I have this weird urge to jump out of my car and punch that poster in its face. I know, it sounds extremely dramatic and violent. But I'm just being real with you for a moment.
And let's not even talk about how ambiguous the storyline seems. I mean, What.Is.The.Story.About? From what I've gathered, it's about hot teenage sex. But again, I ask, WHAT.IS.THE.STORY.ABOUT?? And then they hit me with the tagline (as mentioned above), as if that makes it all better and oh, so clear.
But then, I pump my brakes. And I take a beat, and I ask myself, "But why are you angry about saying goodbye to innocence, Patrice?" Are you mad that you haven't been able to say goodbye to innocence in no uncertain terms? And I squint, and I think about this question intently. Yes, I'm a unicorn (See this link for further clarification), and am I mad about it? I squint some more. Nope. At least not today, I'm not.
So why all the anger and punching?
I get still again. And I think some more about this.
And a trickle of thought finally comes through.
"But everyone has forgotten the power of innocence."
It's why we are drawn to puppies and newborns. It's why explorers absolutely love finding untouched and innocent, unpolluted land. Something about this innocence reminds us of home. A home that many of us have forgotten about or continue to deny its existence. But your spirit still leaps, your heart still cries with joy when touching this magnificent innocence. Because there's an imprint of love there.
And yet, we as humans think we make things unequivocally better by tampering with, reducing, adding to, or mixing those very things that were once innocent--those moments, people, and things, that were shining brightly with a heavenly light, before time, pain, and disappointment rubbed its grimy hands all over it.
Yes, I understand that change is the only constant, but I am also aware that innocence, once lost, is very, very hard to regain.
And I'm keenly aware that everything in our current culture would love to strip away innocence and devalue its worth, power, and place in our lives, because it threatens the status quo. It brings conviction in the way of stating things could be and should be better.
I used to be ashamed at my lack of worldly, sexual experience. Because there didn't seem to be a value placed on it at all in our society. And even now, the responses I get vary. But while there are the celebratory responses, there are also my favorite "Stank face" responses- A sort of, "You're making me uncomfortable and I'm kind of weirded out by you" vibe.
But while innocence may convict, it has this sneaky ability to draw you in. You just can't keep staring at that puppy in that now famous Super Bowl commercial and even though you don't want kids of your own, you have to admit that baby looks a bit angelic just sleeping there in its stroller.
And to think, we are excited to say goodbye to innocence. It's a tag line now. A throw away phrase. But it has so many more implications.
It's one thing to get people to believe that there's no sin, evil, or demonic power in the world, but the leftover footprints of innocence lost in our world would state otherwise.
The power of innocence not only leaves us with a footprint of love and home, it is a reminder of the possibility of all things being made new.
It's the tangible display and hope of redemption.
Innocence is not simply about never being exposed to anything horrible, but it is about embracing the truth of real godly love in the midst and adjusting accordingly.
Today, I encourage us to look at those areas of our lives that have been tarnished, and simply ask God to restore His innocence in our lives, giving us fresh eyes to see, and a fresh heart to believe, that once again, anything is possible.
“It takes a very long time to become young.”
― Pablo Picasso