Learning To Live As A Child

spencer with butterfly on handI sat in the middle of a field of clover yesterday, cold spring wind chilling my bones while my insides were warmed by discovery.
I sat in the middle of a playground yesterday, not as a mother or grandmother, but as a new friend to small children.

And I walked through the backdoor of childhood and saw the world through the portal of wonder. It was as if I were a little Alice for an hour or two. But you don’t get there in the blink or the nod or the snap you might think.

No it is a slower dance than even I thought it would be.

Re-entering the world of little ones. You walk gently into sacred territory with respect and eyes wide open to wonder.

And it looks like  preparing for a make believe wedding with clover bridesmaids bouquets. And it smells like dirt balls thrown high to the sky. They are snow or dirt or sand. You speak it and they are changed.It feels like ice-cold metal chain. You hold the chain while you push the swing and if its March and Spring is late, the metal is cold as blocks of ice on your trembling flesh.

When I pulled the white down comforter up over my memories of the day and tucked myself into bed I remembered. I remembered what I learned from being a child, the stirring of emotions my backdoor entrance into childhood kept me awake. I longed to hold on to the day that I knew could not be repeated. Not one of them can.
I can still smell the clover, sweet and fresh. I lifted the flower to my noise over and over this day trying to recall if I remembered this fragrance.

But it smelled new to me. As so much of the day felt new. How had I forgotten the smell of clover or had I never recorded it in my youth.

Had I let my self grow so far away from the mystery and wonder of seeing the world as an Alice?

I asked my new friend who is five or so to see if she could find a four leaf clover. And then I waited for her return. Sweet excitement in her face, she brought back a hand filled with new discovery. That a four leaf clover can be a three leaf clover plus one borrowed leaf from another. That life can be viewed and seen in so many different ways. We limit ourselves as adults. I looked down at the three leaf clover plus the ripped piece from another, sacrificed to total four. Amazed by her creativity, I long to see the world with saucer-shaped eyes. To see it slant in all its mysteries.

At her invitation into child’s play, I entered into a game of hide and seek and found so much more than my friend hiding behind a tree trunk. I re-discovered play and release of the bondage of adult sensibilities, if just for a few minutes. Life is full through the eyes of a child. We watched dogs race and return a thrown ball to their human. And we found squirrels’ nests nestled in the bare tree limbs. And in these frozen moments on a cold spring day, I stared at a squirrel scratch an itch behind his ear. And helped my friend see two messy nests. Where have I been looking if not up. How have I missed so much.

And in throwing a baseball back and forth with her three year little brother, I observed meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness when the ball hit hard on her back. I learned in an afternoon in the park what I needed to tuck into my soul for a refresher course. I needed remediation on play.

I needed to count and run and watch a made up disco dance. And say good job. My soul was hungry for looking at art drawn in the sand with a stick. My soul needed  to watch a paper plate soar as a frisbee on a windy day. My imagination lay dormant more than I knew. Until it was cracked open a bit at the hand of a wildly creative girl and her brother.

Discovery came through the eyes of a child, on a cold day, in a park in Charleston. When the world of an adult was frozen, thankfully in time. And a dormant imagination began to  wake up to the new world that waits all around.

I was Alice for a day because of  friendship and a playdate. One boy and one girl helped me see the world through the eyes of a child. And I am learning to live as a child again.

spencer gets a shot from the top

Joining Jen and Heather.

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Through A Daughter’s Eyes-The Call And Reflection

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life”.–Mary Oliver

Why I Am On The Art Bus”–by my sixteen year old daughter

When I first heard about this journey I was so not sure if I wanted to go or not. I was thinking I would have just gotten out of school so why would I want to get back on a bus again the first week of summer? I know, so selfish and so not the right state of mind.

So then I began to pray and pray about it. I felt the Lord was calling me to go. There I would be the youngest on the bus with not much experience. However there is nothing that I love more than art, children, and Jesus Christ. The more I thought about it the more excited I began to get. This was my calling and the Lord was telling me to go.

Telling people about Christ and having an art studio on wheels is just so amazing. Watching people love on this bus just brings so much joy to my heart. The fact that we can bless others as well as the Lord with the bus is just so incredible.

I have learned lots of thing while along this journey. Number one, patience is key. Trust God no matter what happens. This brings me to one of my favorite verses…”Be cheerful no matter what happens.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19. Throughout the trip I was reminded that He has a plan for us and the bus and even if we were not able to see it, He can.

I can’t believe I ever doubted being apart of this team. This again is where I will thank God. He let me see that He wanted me to be apart of this and I thank Him again for giving me the ability to be able to listen and to obey Him. I was blessed with many new friendships on this trip that I wouldn’t trade for the world I thank God for that, also.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for it/us when we bring it back home. It can’t be anything but good. This has been one amazing journey and I am so glad I was called to hop on board!

 

Pay Attention On The Road

Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

( Mary Oliver)




The Road

Pay attention to the road.

And the traffic.

The directions too.

You may get lost.

Wander off on a path, into the unknown.

Where Discovery waits.

To greet your heart.

Bust it wide open, into the light. Into the world. Into the bright.

Pay attention to the mom with the pain. The one on black top blank stare, hurting insides.

Pay attention to one on the platform, as the rat runs by.

The one with the words looking for a place to light, to land, to rest.

Pay attention to the the one wearing ink for clothing with sadness oozing out and over and into your arms.

Pay attention to the all, the one, the single soul with a hole to fill to make them whole.

And your words may touch and your presence may help. Might even heal. A bit. A place.

He did it well. He paid attention. To the woman at the well.

To the prostitute. To the leper.

Pay attention to even one, to the least.

Discover the joy.

In discovering the moment.

Connect with the one, the child, the mom, the man on his commute.

Let Mercy pierce your heart.And Love spill from your lips.

And stumble down that path.

The one marked well for you.

Life’s Ooh’s and Aah’s

We have a little family joke that started with my grandmother.  She would ooohhh and aaah at every gift that was opened at Christmas and  any and all special occasions. It was delightful behavior  to be around as a child.

Pure joy.  Pure excitement.  Unrestrained rejoicing.

She, my Gama, was a child of the Great Depression.  One of thirteen children, she was appreciative of everything.  So when the bows and the wrapping were thoughtlessly tossed aside, she would gather up the bows and salvage any of the wrapping she could.  She’d gather and save.

And as each gift was revealed she would say, with her beautiful big smile and her beautiful big eyes, oooh and then aaaah.  She just simply delighted in the gift and the moment.  Large. Small.  Modest.  Simple.

The gift didn’t matter.  It was just the moment and the exchange, ever so small between family.

So we adopted this custom.  Truthfully we poke mild fun at her dramatic response as we  have family fun ooohing and aahhing over the unwrapping of gifts. We remember her.  Her joy.

But truly, isn’t life more fun when we celebrate the small unwrappings.  Delighting in the small things that border on just mundane.  When we celebrate small milestones, or small joys.  When we take a moment to rest in a moment of beauty.

Breaking out a smile, broad and wide, all toothy and glistening over a kind remark from a devoted friend, a text of encouragement or endearment from a woman who walks out life with you, an email that says simply. ” I am missing you terribly.”

Aren’t these moments worth busting out cheerfulness and joyfulness.

I delivered news this morning to a friend which I felt would disappoint and maybe cause her to feel that I had let her down.  Her response was one of affirmation.  You are choosing rightly, you are doing as you should, go and enjoy and have fun.  This is important, she says to me.

We have been deep cleaning and spring cleaning my house.  I look on the fruits of the shared labor, and smell the clean, and see some progress toward de-cluttering. I smile and say this is good.  This is better.  I am encouraged.

Such small things often delight the heart.  And they are worth taking a moment to say, “This is good.” To give it a simple label of “nice” or “good” or “beautiful” or “kind”. To release an ooh or an aahh over a favorite meal when fellowshipping with family or friends.  This is good. This is yummy.

Finding the moments that are gifts of life, ever so small and allowing them to be named as good.  To savor for more than a second.

This morning for me it was the smell of cut grass.  They say that the sense of smell is the memory which we hold on to the longest.  I don’t know if that is true, but a wave of memories poured into my bedroom and delighted my soul as I thought of times that were good as fragrant cut grass stimulated my memories, all tucked away and resting.

Words were said.  There was a disagreement.  I would not have won any mother of the year awards for my part, for my responses to the situation.  But in a moment of reconciliation my child told me how very much he loves me.

I was humbled.  I am deeply touched by a love that forgives and works through and doesn’t stay stuck.  This is good.  This is healing.  I stop and say this is unexpected grace.

I am looking for things to celebrate this weekend.  We are cheerfully and happily celebrating a graduation of a precious young woman in our life.  We love her so and we rejoice at this milestone.

But I am looking to rejoice in the small things too. The little oooh’s and the little aaah’s.  The shell on the beach, the giggle around the table, the crisp spring air with birds singing overtime, a clean fresh start for some places in my home, a comment in love, a comment in friendship, a word of encouragement. A gesture toward forgiveness.  A gesture toward healing.  A word of praise.  A word of thanksgiving.

I am seeking to rejoice in all that He gives.  And while I don’t have my Gama’s eyes which saw the world so differently than I, I can seek to  see what the Lord has placed before me as blessing and gift.

The tide comes in, the tide goes out.  The bumps and bruises and dust ups in life will come and go.  But I choose today to look for joy.

Will you join me. Won’t you join me. It’s more fun doing life together.

Wonderful Weekend Full Of Grace, to you all.

And may you ooooh and aahh all weekend long at all the joy that comes your way.

Blessings….

wynnegraceappears