... in children playing

Published on 16 Oct 2020
A flower painted on a grey wall.

I was walking through a council estate recently. It was a pretty grim place, the stairwells were unkempt, and while I'm sure some people had found a cosy home there, the place had a feeling of grime and misery for the most part.

You could sense loneliness and isolation. Yet there were several groups of young children playing outside. It's funny because people often say that kids don't do that any more, but here there were plenty of children playing happily and not many adults around. There was one group who were staging their own version of Britain's Got Talent (standing on some kind of concrete blocks,, holding up their hands as pretend microphones). Another group of teens kindly gave me directions to the flat I was looking for. Another group were playing ball and kicked the football in my direction. I have no sense of coordination at all, so from childhood a ball swinging in my direction has always paralysed me with the fear that if I try to kick it back, then I'll end up making a fool of myself, and if I don't, I'll just look very rude. I stopped the ball and kicked it back, and to my amazement it actually worked. The children all said thank you so politely and sweetly. In the midst of this place, which seemed to lack hope, the young shoots are growing. God plants seeds and nourishes them in the most unexpected places.