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You’re never too old to have a happy childhood

My dad’s best friend when he lived in Long Beach was Jim Baker. Like my dad, Jim was a pathologist. He did serious work diagnosing people’s illnesses. But somehow Dr. Baker always seemed to retain a twinkle in his eye and a playful approach to the world. Having grandkids was perfect. He loved to…
By Seth Barnes

My dad’s best friend when he lived in Long Beach was Jim Baker. Like my dad, Jim was a pathologist. He did serious work diagnosing people’s illnesses.

But somehow Dr. Baker always seemed to retain a twinkle in his eye and a playful approach to the world. Having grandkids was perfect. He loved to get down on the floor and romp with them.

Dr. Baker’s childhood was difficult – filled with pain. His wife told me that he would get terribly depressed. After getting married, he met Jesus and Jesus taught him this secret: you’re never too old to have a happy childhood.

You had a bad childhood you say? Father was abusive? And your mom enabled him? Yes, it’s horrific and wrong and indelibly imprinted on your memory. If I were with you and you were sharing all that, I would probably feel some of your pain and want to pray with you. If I knew you well enough, I might even hug you.
 
But at some appropriate time later on, I’d also want to bring you this good news: You’re never too old to have a happy childhood. You can make new memories. You can choose to go to parties and laugh. You can learn from Dr. Baker and romp around.
 

In a world full of deadlines and deliverables, Dr. Baker was able to take off the doctor’s white coat and be fully present in the moment. He knew that when we play, there’s no destination. And as a Christian, he knew God wasn’t trying to get him to a destination either.

Dr. Baker died this past month. The last conversation we had, we reflected on how God prepares us to leave this earth by taking away the things we cling to and take for granted – things like our health and relationships. But, one thing they couldn’t take from him was that impish way he had that made life fun.

I want to learn from his example.

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