Guess you’re never too young to teach an old dog a new trick.
In this case, “young” refers to my fifteen-month-old granddaughter, Nora; “old dog” refers to yours truly.
This afternoon, Nora taught me something.
She and I shared an exhilarating experience together. We were at a local park, one that boasts a series of water jets shooting sky-high arrows of H2O over the heads of all the children, the liquid laughter splashing on the ground to the delightful laughs and squeals of every youngster in the place.
To put it simply, Nora LOVED IT.
Nora just couldn’t seem to get over the magic of a concentrated stream of water spontaneously shooting up from the ground. She delighted in the refreshing sensations — on this 90 degree day — of having her entire body drenched in the wild wetness and coolness of the spray. She looked on in amazement as individual jets suddenly and without warning turned off, only to spring back to life as if they each were a living thing. She ran through the water with reckless abandon, totally immersed (no pun intended) in the moment.
In a word, Nora was lost in the WONDER of it all.
And I’ll admit, a part of me looked on with envy.
Nora wasn’t for a split-second encumbered with the worries of the day which tend to weigh me down. She couldn’t have cared less about a teetering economy or the latest terrorist threats. She took no time out of her fun-filled afternoon to concern herself about her health and how the unknowns of “Obamacare” might affect her physical and monetary wellbeing in the future. She wasn’t worried in the least about the unemployment rate, or her prospects of landing her dream job, or meeting and marrying her best friend and soulmate. She didn’t even consider the possibility that the Dodgers might soon blow a 5 1/2 game lead and fall out of first place in the National League West because Hanley Ramirez jammed his shoulder after tumbling over a concrete wall while catching a foul ball in the cozy confines of Wrigley Field.
Nora just lived in the moment, singularly focused on the wonders of the world around her. Wonders worthy to behold. And in that moment, she knew no fear. She didn’t have to. I, along with her parents and my dear wife, were there watching over her. In that moment, she felt free to embrace the joys of the wonderment she was experiencing.
Something that thrilled my heart no end, because to some degree I was able to provide that for her.
Frankly, I rue the day when she will wake up a full-grown adult focused on the problems — the stresses and the strains — that life has become for most of us.
On that future day, I will be sad. Sad that she has lost something. Something precious. Something priceless.
She will have lost the wonder of it all.
I will be sad because it is a big wide world out there, filled with wonders that, even as an adult, she will have yet to experience. Sad because there is no reason that she, nor I, nor you, nor any of us must lose the wonder of it all.
Losing the wonder of it all was my own choice. A choice I didn’t have to make. A choice I never purposed to make. But a choice I made, nonetheless.
But, thankfully, a choice I can reverse. And so can you.
So with all of this talk about how exhilarated I was this afternoon to witness the exhilaration of my precious little Nora… and my lament at her someday losing the wonder of it all… and the sadness that I will feel if/when that day comes…
Do you suppose that every time I fail to see the wonder in the white puffy clouds floating across a powder-blue sky, the whistle of the wind as the leaves of our many trees kiss each other, the purr of a cat, the twitch of my little puppy as he dreams of his own wonders while sleeping securely in my lap, the rapturous refrains of a melodious masterpiece, the wonder that I am alive to see and hear and experience this wonder we call “life”…
Do you suppose that God is sad? Sad that to some degree, I have lost the wonder of it all?