Time runs away from us all… every new candle on the birthday cake, every Christmas time that rolls by too quickly, every school reunion invitation- these and many more are all poignant reminders of just how fast time is passing us by, and how old we are becoming. For some who are blessed, along with age will come wisdom, but there are certain qualities which are lost too easily along the journey. One of the greatest emotions that as humans we have the potential to experience often smolders away with time…and we are robbed…
It creeps in slowly, we don’t even realize we are being overtaken by it, smothered by it. Our view of the world becomes contaminated with the bad, the ugly, the negative around us. We read the headlines, listen to the news… we drown under weight of the corruption, the cost of living, the stresses of life… we plod on from day to day…we lose focus…we lose clarity… We lose one of the greatest gifts we have the potential to embrace – WE LOSE OUR WONDER IN THE WORLD. We lose the ability to be saturated by an emotion incomparable to any other – JOY. Pure, ecstatic wonder and joy.
Too easily our days become filled with frustrations, minor annoyances and irritations, and for some, great sadness.
But children throw us lifelines…
Children redirect us, in the smallest ways, to the greatest beauties. If we allow them, they take off our misted dirty contaminated glasses, and enable us to see clearly, to see beauty, to see purity… the joy and wonder that we miss too often. It’s the simplest things that ignite children, the things we take for granted- not the big events, the grand happenings, that as adults we expect, anticipate will bring us excitement and long-lasting happiness- it’s the everyday delights…
We’re spending two weeks in Tofo, Mozambique, a magical spot which we have been frequenting for years. Although the boys went fishing last Tuesday morning, they lost ‘the big one’, and instead we found ourselves negotiating with the fishmongers. The kids were more than delighted when they arrived at our casa with their crate of Red Snapper, Barracuda, Rock Cod and a bucket of ‘Lula’ for us to choose from. There were ‘Ooo’s’, ‘Aaah’s’, ‘Wow’s’ and lots of ‘Mom, look at this’, whilst they peered over what to us, was a simple dinner menu. Once the chosen fish had been selected, the kids watched with gaping mouths and complete marvel as it was descaled, gutted and filleted. And then the absolute wonderment when the stomach was opened and a bait fish popped out… their day was made! What to us was a mundane and rather gruesome and smelly procedure, lit wonder in their souls and left content hearts and happy smiles beaming from ear to eyebrow. The smallest shells on the beach, the coconuts hanging heavily on the palms, feet sliding down sand banks, flitting butterflies on beach greenery, the cheerful local daily beach soccer match, bodies plopping into soft beach sand- its life in colour, and through the eyes of a child- life of wonder. This wonder isn’t only observable in exotic locations- we see it every day in how children draw in their surroundings and make sense of their world- it’s beautiful, and we need to pause and learn from them.
Watch children, whether your child or any others- watch the excitement, the joy, the magic they experience in the simplest elements of life, embrace the “wow’ moments and reclaim them over and over. See past the bad and the ugly- find the good- it’s in the simple, the everyday, the mundane, the ordinary. It may be watching ice melt, connecting bat with ball, a chameleon on a tree, the way a car engine works, the rhythm of a new song, a glistening spiderweb in a tree… watch and breathe in the wonder, the amazement, the awe. See life in colour…
I still won’t be ogling over gutted fish, but watching joy-filled children is such a powerful reminder of what we too easily let go of on our way to adulthood. The power to see the wonder in the small things, the joy that is brought through seeing life in colour, the purity of vision when we don’t allow contamination. Stop, and take time to see the world through the eyes of a child- through the eyes of wonder.


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