Today my job is to keep an eye on Helaina. Actually that’s only half right. It takes both eyes open and on full alert to watch this active 2 year old. Like most kids that age, her focus is on exploration. Just about everything she experiences is new to her and she can’t wait to explore. There is no fear that something might harm her and she goes through her day watching, holding and examining everything that she encounters.
An outdoor adventure is one of our favorite activities, so we head to the backyard for some fun. It’s amazing how the littlest things that would be overlooked by adults can hold her attention. She lies on the ground to examine a grasshopper as closely as possible. She jumps as the grasshopper jumps, and then laughs with excitement. She chases a butterfly until it flies farther than her attention can reach. Holding a lady bug and watching it crawl up her arm is exciting and she giggles as its little legs tickle her skin. She admires this little creature and even speaks to it. I wonder what would happen if it talked back. Would she accept this without question, or would she be as shocked as I would be. She lives totally in the moment, and has no concept of tomorrow or yesterday. As adults, our minds keep us focused on future events that may never come to pass, or chained to a past full of regrets. I wonder how long she will be free to live in her present moment of bliss.
I pull up a lawn chair and decide to sit while she explores. Even a young grandmother can tire while chasing a two year old. I am captivated by her freedom and watch every movement as she floats through the tall grasses and wild flowers like a fairy. She is a beautiful child with long curly hair that blows gently in the wind. I see her run towards a flower, then pick it and examine it closely. She smells it, and then studies it from every angle and seems delighted with her treasure. Then, suddenly, another object catches her attention, and she goes running for it. As she runs, her hand opens and the flower that just moments before had totally held her attention is released without a second thought. The act of releasing frees the hand to grasp the next object. This activity occurs over and over and she gives it no more thought than breathing.
This act of releasing is something that adults find most difficult to do. We collect possessions, hold on to jobs that we hate, and relationships that no longer work for us. We cling to our hurt feelings and regrets instead of simply releasing them. When did we loose the freedom that we had as children? Today my granddaughter reminded me of a simpler way to live. This little soul has been a great teacher and I thank God for her presence in my life.
As we start this New Year, let us approach it as a child and truly make it new. Let’s keep our hands open, ready to embrace whatever Spirit places before us.
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