The magical writings of J. M. Barrie and his creation of Peter Pan and Captain Hook and all the other heroes and villains of Neverland have sparked events that even the glittering imagination of the author would never have dreamed…
…from the millions of children given the hitherto all but non-existent name “Wendy”, to the Disney franchises, to Robin Williams’ portrayal of Peter Banning to an intriguing insight into blue sand in our house last week…
…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
One of the ever-popular characters from the story of Peter Pan is his airborne companion Tinker Bell. Indeed, Tinker Bell is so popular that she now has a series of films in her own right.
This plucky little fairy is drawn into countless adventures, with films about lost treasures and great fairy rescues. We’ve recently added “Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy” to our collection.
The films are all set in Pixie Hollow, which is full of fairies whose lives seem to revolve around fairy-dust.
Now if you will forgive me a short digression into our last Tesco visit, Mónica bravely took Elías (6) along for the ride. And since he asked very nicely whether they could buy a sack of blue play-sand he found, and he had behaved so very well, the sand was bought.
The sand was transported home with the utmost reverence. You don’t see blue sand every day, after all.
With due ceremony, it was decanted into the sand-table. Clear boundaries were established. The sand was not to be removed from the sand table. Nothing was to be added to the sand. It was to be kept pure, and there would be no more sand purchased in the event of non-adherence to the rules.
The children nodded sagely. These were wise rules. They would be kept without question.
You can imagine how long that lasted.
We realised what was going on when we saw Marta (3) at the top of the climbing frame with her right hand held triumphantly aloft, and a trickle of fine blue powder streaming from between her fingers. “Fairy dust!” she proclaimed to anyone who would listen.
I rushed out to bring order, but I was too late. Because for fairy dust to be of any use, you need to sprinkle it on yourself. Marta was well and truly sprinkled, and the tiny blue particles visible in her hair portended a good long session with multiple applications of shampoo and showering.
“But what’s wrong?” she asked innocently. “I put fairy dust on Elías and Dominic with no problems.”
Of course she had. Because with small children you should always be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The removal of blue sand from the hair of three children was as tedious as expected. But anyone who has dealt with normal sand will know that this was only the beginning. Sand somehow works its way everywhere. It works its way into pockets. It works its way into beds. It works its way into carpets. It mysteriously works its way into food. It works its way into socks that weren’t even being worn that day.
The added fascination of blue sand is that you can actually see it, so we spent a very instructive few days spying tiny blue specks in all kinds of unlikely places. If you are ever anticipating being very very bored for four days straight, I promise that this pastime has plenty to keep you occupied.
The bible uses some slightly arcane analogies sometimes. Of course, they were fine for your average Josephus two thousand years ago, but there are some that most of us in the digital age don’t instantly connect with.
Yeast is one of those analogies. We vaguely know that it makes bread. Or beer. Or maybe both. But for all but the most dedicated of home-bakers and brewers, it resolutely fails to feature in our “Top thousand things to keep in the kitchen.”
The analogy is used in the bible because once you work yeast into dough, it affects every bit of it. So it might make sense to think of blue-sand fairy-dust instead.
The blue-sand fairy-dust of the Pharisees
Take, as an example, Jesus’ warning to his followers about “The yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
He issues his warning in response to the fact that, after all the wonders Jesus had done, the Pharisees and the Sadducees had shown up demanding he perform for them on their own terms. The hallmarks of their approach were cynicism and a desire for control. Jesus was having none of their attitude.
Their cynicism was like blue sand. God’s kingdom is a crazy, risky and breath-taking place, but it doesn’t take much of us thinking “I’m not being cynical, I’m just being realistic…” before we start finding cynicism cropping up like blue sand. It quickly gets into our decision making and our thought-processes. It gets into areas we’d never have dreamed it could get into and clogs up God’s dazzling plans for us.
The blue-sand fairy-dust of the kingdom of heaven
That means that when we start thinking and behaving in the backwards topsy-turvy impossible lifestyle that Jesus taught and lived…when we start doing things as though “blessed are the merciful” beats “sensible are the cynical”…when we start acting like “blessed are the meek” beats “sensible are those who demand to be in control”…
…it takes just that. The tiniest start. The lightest sprinkling of the blue-sand fairy-dust of God’s kingdom before we start finding Jesus’ style beginning to permeate all around us.
We’ll see it in the most unconnected of ways, working its way like blue sand into our metaphorical sock-drawer and adding an impossible glint of colour to everything around.
© Text 2015 Paul Brownnutt
Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.