all of the selves we Have ever been
I am taking a break from heartache today.
All of it. The coronavirus, death, hospitalizations, unemployment, economic collapse, murder, racial injustice, protests, looting, politics…
My mind is on overload, my spirit on life support.
Today, I retreat to the world of early childhood where everything wonderful is still possible.
I am reminded of a day long ago. Another difficult day. I finally threw in the towel and said out loud, “I give up!” I plopped down in a comfy chair. My preschool daughter, Emily, who was playing nearby said, “Well, then I give up too.” She squeezed into the chair beside me. Emily had no idea what we were giving up on, but it was wonderful to have her snuggly, agreeable company while I retreated from life. I don’t recall what apocalyptic thing I was giving up on. It was probably another string of events that added up to too much for one day. In any event, it was a small, sweet child who saved me.
The voices of little children are sure to soften and fill the heart. I remember attending a seasonal concert at the grade school my children attended. The auditorium was packed with picture-taking parents. The concert began with the oldest group, the sixth graders. The energy of their voices resembled something one might hear in that twilight stage of sleep during a colonoscopy. Not memorable. I imagine that in the minds of these sophisticated upperclassmen, the eleven and twelve year olds, it was just a lame dog-and-pony show meant to entertain even lamer parents who had lived too many years on little sleep and lots of NCIS re-runs.
The music teacher worked her way down the ranks class by class ending with the kindergartners. Suddenly, we were in the Garden of Eden. Life sprang up all around us. The five years olds leaned in. It might be where Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, got the idea for the title of her bestseller. Those kindergartners were in—all the way in. Dressed for success. They leaned and they swayed. Their faces were aglow with pride and heaven’s light. They sang with heart and with all their might. Earnest and proud were they. They filled our hearts with song and with joy. Suddenly, I was a believer again. Anything was possible! That music teacher knew how to end a concert on a high note!
In this election year and time of deep discouragement, I propose we designate a music teacher to gather up the world’s five year olds—create an international round table of kindergartners. They are full of good ideas. And they are all believers. Everything wonderful is still possible.