June 29, 2009

18 Miles of Questions...???

“Who is that singing the National Anthem?”

This was Kaylea’s first question as we prepared to ride the Tour de Corn. The Tour de Corn is a charity bike ride starting in East Prairie, Missouri and touring some of the less traveled rural highways of southeast Missouri. The highlight of the rest stops is the fresh sweet corn, which hits the spot. This year around 750 cyclists rode, with all donations supporting the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center and the East Prairie Nutrition Center.

We rode to the starting line from my uncle’s house, which gave us a pre-ride total of about 1.5 miles before the 15 mile "real" ride. And the questions began, faster than I could pedal.

“How many ears of corn are on each stalk?”
“How tall do stalks grow?”
“Why are the stalks laying down?”
"How do you pick corn?"
“How far have we gone?”
“How far to the rest stop?”
“Will there be soda at the rest stop?”
“What’s that smell?”
“What’s that noise?”
“Can I have some water?”
“What’s the highest number you’ve seen?”
“What’s the lowest number you’ve seen?”
“What time is it?”

I answered as many questions as I could. When I could not answer the questions, I deferred to Uncle Mike. Even though my ears were tired, I was glad that she was asking the questions.

Here in the US, we tend to shut down curious minds by ignoring questions, or answering too abruptly. The Jewish heritage, however, has a completely different mindset when it comes to questions. When their children start asking questions, they encourage the questions and challenge the children to ask even harder ones. Celebrating curiosity and inquisitiveness, the Jewish heritage supports the intellectual exploration of ideas, concepts, dreams, and imaginings.

There is a strong melancholic side to my personality. In those quiet and down times, questions flood my soul. Sometimes I am thoughtful enough to address those questions to God. Many times, those questions simply ruminate, sometimes surfacing in lyrics. And as much as I want God to answer some of my questions, there is a slight concern that He might ask me some of his own…

“How are you helping to feed the hungry?”
“How are you living in the fullness of My Story, and not just using Me to make yourself important?”
“What are you doing for widows and orphans?”“Are you resting in My love, or still trying to impress Me?”
“How are you doing justice?”
“Are you loving your neighbor? How about your enemy?”
“Do you love Me more than…?”

Last Saturday, Kaylea and I rode 18 miles together. When we got home today, she told me that the bike ride was one of her favorite parts of vacation.

Bring on the questions.

1 comment:

Jennifer H said...

Awesome! I'm glad you are taking the time to cherish -- and encourage -- these moments.