In search of my inner child

Babies have a gift: what happens in one moment is quickly forgotten in the next. Baby Susie comes to our house every Thursday for some playtime with her cousins and a nap with her aunt under a thick down comforter. For weeks, she has battled a chest cold, several rounds of the stomach flu, and a rash that she just can't kick. Itchy and aching one moment, the next moment she flashes us with her characteristic toothy grin, her olive eyes dancing and limpid with laughter.


"Truly I say to you, whoever does not
receive the kingdom of God like a child

shall not enter it at all."
Mark 10:15


Today, I want to bottle that "little child" essence that has eluded more often than it has captivated me. Even as a little child, I had very little of that essence. So what is it that makes the faith of a little child unique?

Children are without guile. They are straightforward, above-board, and usually completely unable to couch their intent or motivation or meaning. They hit you with the truth, right off the bat. Who among us hasn't heard a child say, at some time or another, "Mama, look at that fat lady!" or, "Why is that man so hairy?", or "But I think Aunt Maybelle's cookies taste like stinky toes!" For better or worse, they say what they mean! Let me be honest with myself, throw out the skewed grown-up glasses, and see the world for what it is for a change. Let me see my goodness or my badness clearly today.

Children trust. Without asking questions, without suspecting hidden meaning, my kids take my word as truth. They never expect me to let them down, they never worry about being too happy because they might be disappointed in the future. Sure, it makes their peaks higher and their valleys lower, but who wants to live on a plateau anyway? I don't. Today let me trust.

Children look at everything with wonder. Nothing is ordinary, nothing is boring, and nothing is old news. There is an element of discovery and awe in each and every task of a child's day: making confetti out of Play-doh, reading a book for the 100th time, seeing how many of the kitchen tiles one can hop over without touching, how many snowflakes fit on a finger, or how many blankets and pillows fit on one bed. Children don't worry about how to make everything work for the rest of the day, they just focus on the discovery at hand. Knowing they have to pick up their toys later doesn't seem to limit how many toys they are willing to take out, does it? And look at me now: how many times a day do I leave something on the shelf because I won't get it finished, or it will be more work than it is worth? I want to look at the world with wonder today.

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that
special place...

~ Sweet Child O' Mine, Mikey Wiseman