I have a two-year old son named Miles. His pictures grace this blog site from time to time. Miles is our second child, so my wife and I have lived through the "terrible twos" before. However, it is amazing how space and time enables parents to forget how crazy, weird, and terrible the "twos" really can be. A child who is sweet and affectionate in one moment can become a yelling, screaming "pirate" in the next moment. We had forgotten this phenomenon once our daughter matured past this stage and were almost shocked and surprised when Miles started showing signs of the "terribles" which came seemingly out of thin air one day a few months ago.
Most interesting to me about the "terrible twos" is that two-year olds are always right in their own minds despite the parental logic and explanations that would otherwise defy their reasoning. A shirt that is appropriate for the weather isn't acceptable to the two-year old when he wants to wear his pajamas all day. Standing on the arm of the couch or on the kitchen table is a two-year old's idea of absolute fun, and she cannot understand why her parent would tell her to get down even after previous falls and knots on her head would seem to caution her from performing such acrobatics. A two-year old doesn't care to understand that meals take time to be cooked for when he sees mom in the kitchen it is time to eat regardless of the fact that the chicken in the sink is still half-frozen. The two-year old cares not that everyone in the household has grown utterly sick of watching Barney and Friends because he wants to control his environment and have Barney dancing on the television even if he isn't going to be in the room to watch. Of course, my list of examples could go on and on.
The nugget of truth that living through the "terrible twos" once more has taught me is that in some aspect or another we never fully grow out of them. We all have our moments of fussiness and throw temper-tantrums. There are certain things that we choose not to understand even when we understand them deep-down inside. We demand to control our environment without regard to how it effects others. And yes, we all do things that defy not only human logic but divine wisdom. I am reminded of the words of God spoken through the prophet Isaiah: God says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord."
Like two-year olds, we have all heard God say "don't" and we have chosen to stand on the table and fall on our heads anyway. Likewise, we have all heard God say "do" and we have demanded to wear our pajamas and neglect to put on a change of clothing. And we have told God in prayer the things that we demand in order to be comfortable in our environment instead of listening to God's directives and wisdom.
The lesson we learn and relearn throughout life is that the world does not revolve around ourselves. We hate that lesson because we enjoy having things our way. But the beauty we discover through this lesson is that in hearing the logic, wisdom, and desires of God and our neighbors, we are able to help create what God has intended all along - COMMUNITY. In community, we find the true joys of life...those that cannot be experienced when we have everything our way.