Working at an elementary school, I meet with with all kinds of childish silliness and seriousness. In third grade we have a student that is a behavioral monster. I'll call him M. He is often violent and rude to other students and teachers, which he somehow manages to do while smiling wickedly, as if it were the funniest joke in the world. When teachers and administrators try to reason with M., he often answers with a fervent "I can do whatever I want!" Predictably, his behavior often lands him in the office.
Upon returning from such a trip to the office, M. and I encountered a curly-headed kindergartner in the hallway. The boy stopped upon seeing us, flung out his arms to their fullest extent, and cried, "I love school!" His face shone, and I think it would be impossible for any person to express more joy than his little voice contained.
I glanced at M., knowing that he was anything but happy to be at school. "Why?" I said.
Curly-head answered expressively, "Because, I get to go to recess!" You'd think he had just won a million dollars.
I smiled, M. grimaced, and the kindergartner skipped away to enjoy his playtime. Walking down the hallway, I fervently hoped that M. learned something from that kindergartner. That was months ago. Curly-head still loves school, and M. still ends up in the office every day for making trouble. Instead, I'm the one who learned from Curly-head's example.
Joy like that, love like that--simple, yet intense--makes us come alive. Our hearts need to experience that kind of joy every once in awhile, to keep us alive and strong. I forget that a lot. I get caught up in the dullness of doing what I'm "supposed" to do, and I stop seeing the simple things that can impart that joy. Things like sunshine, new shoes, mint ice cream, reading Jane Eyre for the tenth time, my husband's smile, a healthy son growing inside me--how sad it would be to miss the opportunity to love these beautiful things in life!
That is the reason I created this blog, to help me recognize and love those sources of joy more. Every time I do, I feel a little bit more alive.
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."