One of my fears in life has been the fear of growing up. As a child, I was agile and light, sweet and naive. I saw myself as innocent and wanted above all to preserve this. It was my purity that was my pride. I would not give that up! I did not want to grow up! I saw adulthood as unpleasant, anyway. What could it offer me? Work, duties, burdens? I didn't want any of those. No, I would preserve myself from the world. If time and external influences didn't touch me, then I'd never be tainted. I'd always stay pure. It was very tempting to imagine myself as a martyr because then I could be cut off at a young age and would always be "pure." That was how I saw it as a 15-year old.
I felt like a seal pup - a pristine, cute, little white seal pup. And I knew that someday I was going to grow big and awkward and shed my white fur for brown and grey. No! I didn't want to lose my innocence. I didn't want to grow ugly. So I fought as hard as I could to reject my own skin. The problem is, even if you reject it, it's a fact.
And the truth is, that growing up doesn't taint me. Age doesn't make me impure or bad. I'm a sin-tainted being whether I'm young or old. And I'm living in a sin-corrupted world no matter what age I am. There isn't some perfection in me that dies when I grow up. In fact, the more I grow, the more the Lord can refine me. This is what purity really is.
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." John 17:17
The longer I live, the more the Lord can work in me to mold me in the image of Christ. And it's because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection that this is possible. Thanks be to God!
Yeah, the baby seal sure is cute; but the adult seal is lovely in its own way, too. It may be awkward on land, but in the sea it's beautiful. It has a fluid grace and strength as it swims and dives deep into the dark water. It makes sense that as a child, I could only see from a narrow perspective; but now that I'm an adult, I need to embrace the broader picture. I am not going to change my skin. But I can swim.