Ty Phillips helps us start the new year with a healthy dose of childish amazement and wonder.
There is something so magical about the look of wonder and joy in a child’s eyes, that it simply cannot be put into words. When we pay attention—really close attention—the kind of attention that is without bias and emotional walls, to a child as they discover and learn, we see a glimmer of hope in ourselves. We see the reflection of everything truly wonderful about the world we live in.
These moments (and there are so many) give us the opportunity, not to live vicariously, but to be fully immersed within the present. They give us a stripped down version of ourselves, where our wonderment and hope leak out of the walls that we create to keep us safe from the harsh realities of the adult world.
The Bible says something along the lines of, “when I was a child, I thought as a child, acted as a child but when I became an adult I put away childish things.” This always saddened me, especially as an adult. We package away our hope, our wonder, our open armed amazement at everything we see and touch. We put away our ability to truly learn and be present within each precious moment and instead, we argue, we war, we lie and we find ways to rob the future generations of their ability to have hope and wonder.
I wonder if we instead opened ourselves to the amazement of every moment, every creak of a crickets legs, every magical burst of light from a lightning bug, every individual puff that flies off of a dandelion, would be not be for the better?
We refer to the glories of battle and the honor of warriors and I find myself hard pressed to see anything noble or glorious within this. Yet sitting in a field full of flowers and living things, while my daughter laughs and her eyes are bursting with the sheer amazement of everything she sees, I see honor; I see the moment, and within it I find peace and glory and a memory that lasts for a lifetime.
As an adult—a childish one at that—I find that the less like a child I was, the less understanding of being present I had. I would drown under waves of worry, doubt, insecurity and the like and moments of glee were few and far between. The more like an adult I became, the more often I would find myself robbing my children of these glorious moments because I was too busy to notice with them and partake in their feast of fantasy.
Eventually, piece by piece I started learning to let go of my adult(ness). Yes, I still worry. I still have doubts and bills to pay, but I have moments of utter wonderment with everyday experience that I wasn’t having before. I share these moments with my children, with people I know, with animals, with the simple bliss of the moment itself and I find rapturous happiness within it.
Feeling a little sick this morning, I found myself wrapped up in my symptoms again. Shaking my head at this daily irritant and yet, there on my lap, watching “Curious George,” was a three-year-old girl who was finding new wonder in her first encounter with George. She looked up at me, her mouth agape, her eyes shining like beacons of innocence, and I knew in that instant, the look she was sharing with me. We were connected, I was present when she looked up and without a word being spoken, I could hear her say, “daddy! did you see that? Isn’t this amazing?”
I smiled back down at her and shared that moment, and yes, it was amazing!