When our children were growing up, my Dad used to say, "Did you write that down?" He was referring to the amazing words that seemed to tumble daily from the mouths of our four girls. "That is so cute!" he would tell me. Even when I KNEW my kids were incredible, I was too busy to stop and write anything down. But in Dad's shirt pocket, he kept a small notebook which he pulled out frequently, jotting down reminders of things he might forget as he grew older. Though I never found those notebooks, for sure, he wrote down our girls' words that seemed to charm him so. As the years flew by I often wished I had written down my girls' words, so cute, so honest, so profound. With today's technology mothers write beautiful blogs that not only report the details of daily living but also capture the soulful tales of how a child grows into the amazing person they are meant to be.
Children are our greatest teachers, they sometimes see what we miss, what we are too busy to notice or learn. They don't say just cute things...they say important things we need to hear. That happened to me the other day. With a major computer issue at work, we all joyfully made an early escape from the world of child welfare. As I climbed on to the Commuter Express, a mother with 3 children occupied the first row of seats. In her arms she held a wiggly baby under a year. A toddler sat next to her by the window and the big sister, a girl about 6, occupied the window seat directly across the aisle from her mom. Her companion seat was piled high with bags of every type, an umbrella stroller stood collapsed by the seat. The bus had just pulled out from it's bay at Dadeland South when I heard a tiny voice say,
"I think it is so amazing how the clouds look in the sky!" Through the small space I could see the small girls' eyes transfixed on the deep blue Florida sky filled with fluffy white clouds. I wasn't sure if she was speaking to her mother or was just in awe of the lovely sky above her head as she gazed through the window of the bus. Looking back, I remember thinking how touched everyone must be to hear her sweet childish words, but only I had heard them. Without even looking out the window I stood and leaned over the comfortable seat and said gently touching her shoulder,
"I think it is so amazing too!" There was something about her wistful little voice, discovering a treasure that touched her soul, I wanted to affirm her and agree with her about that beautiful truth. As I sat down, looking for no response, her mother asked her what the lady had said. The question seemed to be a check on whether the child had done something wrong. Immediately I spoke, quoting her daughters words then mine. She gave me a tired, relieved smile, soon she was asleep with her baby resting soundly stretched across her knees, her arm around the toddler.
But through the small space I watched the little girl, her eyes fixed on everything, missing nothing until her tired eyes reluctantly closed, her head resting against the window.
How many times are we so encumbered with the busyness of life that we don't just watch the clouds in the sky, or receive the wisdom of a small child, take an old person's hand or listen to a homeless person's story? Maybe for me too many...but am so grateful for that sweet little girl who reminded me. I am reminded daily that Jesus told his disciples that the Kingdom of God is like a little child. God bless her wherever she is today and may nothing steal the wonder and love for beauty in her soul!