Joy in the JOurneY – The Wisdom of Children
Children, while innocent, curious, and fun, often have wisdom to offer if we take the time to listen. Today was a very nice day here in Susanville and I decided to sit on my deck and enjoy some fresh air. My landlord’s children were out and about playing. After a while, mom went in and the two boys were still outside. Thus a conversation was begun. I learned their favorite food (mac and cheese in case you are interested – the vestiges of which were visible on faces as well), why it is best NOT to swim with sharks, and how the trees around the house look like a T-Rex at night (I better start paying more attention). Also, there appears to be a bird living in their garage, a scary bird that turns its head and looks at you when you go in, so you better pay attention so as not to be attacked.
Within 30 minutes there were three children on my deck (and yes, a dog), all vying for my attention. It reminds me how much we crave the attention of others; how we want to be heard and want others to care about what we do and say. After a bit mom came out and realized all the kids were surrounding me and told them they should not be bothering me. They don’t, I find them sweet and fun. It’s been a long time since I have been around young children. But it was nap time for the youngest, so in they went. However, the oldest (five, but almost six according to him) had lost a shoe off his foot while attempting to climb up behind me over the edge of the deck and “scare” me. He was struggling to get that shoe back on because he could not untie it. My offer to help was gladly accepted, and the shoe problem was solved. He decided to show me how well he can ride his two-wheel bike and I got quite the demonstration. After a few times around the house, down the hill and back up, he said “it’s easier going downhill than it is going uphill.” I asked him why he thought that was and he said “you don’t have to pedal downhill.” I told him he was right, but to make sure he could use his brakes just in case he got going too fast. It started cooling off and we both decided it was time to go back inside. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Later, I got to thinking about the wisdom of his statement regarding how much easier it is to ride downhill. This is often how life tends to be for me. I’m going downhill for a while, not really noticing how smooth things are, then, suddenly I am at the bottom of another hill I must ride up. It’s not easy going uphill, especially when you have been cruising along and not paying much attention. Now I need to gear up and start pedaling hard if I am going to make it to the top of that hill. Often there will be slight detours and stops along the way because I, for one, can’t seem to make it to the top of any hill quickly. But, in time, I will make it to the top of that hill and look back at where I was. Likely I will realize that it was worth the struggle.
I hope I take the time to appreciate where I am before I then start down (or up) yet another hill. If I pay more attention to the rhythms of life, riding up and cruising down the hills, I am bound to get more JOY out of this JOurneY. Especially if I spend a bit more time listening to children enjoying life, laughing, and spouting child-like wisdom, along the way.