One of my favorite stories is that of Peter Pan. I don’t know that it was a favorite as a child. In fact, as a child I don’t know that I paid much attention to Peter Pan. I had seen the Disney cartoon, I knew who Tinkerbell was, and I knew the storyline. But as I grew up I became more and more interested in the story. I had the opportunity to play Wendy in the musical version on stage and that is when I truly fell in love with the story. And the more I thought about the story, the more I loved it not only for the silly make-believe, the fairies, the pirates, but for the lessons that are hidden in between.
If you asked someone what Peter Pan is about, they might say many different things, but they will most certainly mention that Peter will never grow up. What a concept, to never grow up. Of course in the story Peter mentions not wanting to grow up and have to do boring grown up things, having to wear a tie, “to go to school and learn solemn things”, and so on. But I believe it goes deeper than that. There is a child inside all of us that we never want to lose. A part of us never does want to grow up. And a part of us never should. Of course we all do grow up. We have to grow and mature to face the challenges that arise in our lives. But there is a child like innocence we should always strive to maintain.
Jesus talks about having faith like a child. The faith that a child has is so complete, there is no room for doubt. In Peter Pan this child like faith leads to believing in mermaids and fairies and pirates that are chased by crocodiles with ticking clocks inside of them. In our lives this childlike faith should be leading to our Lord. We are all children of God. As His children, we should trust in Him completely.
Children are amazed by the smallest things. They find delight in things that adults often grumble about. While a child runs outside to pick dandelions as a flower bouquet, adults will grumble about the weeds cluttering their lawn. While children run outside with excitement to play in the snow, adults will gripe about the road conditions, the shoveling, and how much longer until spring? Children don’t worry about money, about bills, about cars. They don’t worry about jobs, loans, food. They enjoy life and trust that everything they need will be taken care of. Even children faced with hardships seem to find something to be happy about. Children play make-believe. They imagine adventures so grand and extravagant and get lost in their own world.
Somewhere along the line, we grow up. We lose the ability to get lost in our imaginations. We stop believing in fairy tales. What else do we stop believing in though? Perhaps we stop believing in fairies, but what about our Lord’s angels? We may not believe in Peter Pan flying through the air to defeat Captain Hook, but do we believe in the truth that the goodness of God can overcome all evil? We may not imagine far off worlds and pretend we are there where everything is perfect and wonderful. But what about believing in the one true place where everything is perfect and wonderful beyond even our wildest imagination. Heaven. Do we as adults yearn to be in heaven with our Lord? When Peter is caught up in a particularly dangerous adventure he says, “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” How do we look at death? As the end and something to be mourned and dreaded? Or as a wonderful adventure into heaven with our God?
Peter Pan lived in a world where he never grew up. Where fairies are born as babies laugh and where happy thoughts can make you fly to places you could never dream of. As adults we must mature and take on the responsibilities that come our way. But we need to remember to have that inner child with us always. To trust in God as our Heavenly Father to care for us and watch over us always. We must remember never to be afraid of the dark because our Father is always there and is brighter than any darkness. We must remember to find beauty and joy in the simplest of things, and to believe with all our hearts in the goodness that God has given us and the wonders He has in store.