One of the last Steam locomotives in Ireland, 1969. John was a highly respected Irish railway modeller.
My sincerest apologies to Ignatius for borrowing the title of this post. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Comparing God our Father to a little child was His idea, not a human notion: this is about being a little child, or being as a little child, even if only for a few minutes on the beach, and so coming to a little corner of heaven.
I wrote last year about a friend, John Byrne, who built model railways, each representing a particular era, with trains and buildings in authentic colours, and period advertisements. Exquisite, approaching perfection. A labour of love.
Someone else would smile and patronisingly make remarks about grown men’s toys. Is that bad?
Two year-old Abel took a ride on a special grown men’s toy at the local model engineering club, rather like the one in this picture, and enjoyed it as much as the real train he rode to get there.
Of course railways strive to be perfect in many areas, including safety above all.
But the other day I played on the beach with Abel. He persuaded me to make a bridge of sand and rocks and then he used pebbles for trains and cars, pushing them across the sand, under and over the archway, lining them up on the far side. It seemed to me that this was as serious as John’s model, or the miniature ride-on trains in the park.
And just as the child’s imagination or the modeller’s patience create new worlds for a few people to enjoy, so the great imagination and patience of God keep on creating a universe for all his creatures to enjoy.
Let us pray for the imagination and patience to see how best we can join in the work of building up and caring for our corner of the universe, and the grace to get on and do it.