“How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it!” --G.K. Chesterton
What is it about the wonder of a child that so tugs at my heart? The children and I went outside the other day, and my 15 month old daughter’s chosen toys were, one: a large plastic yellow spoon and driveway pebbles (pea gravel, to be exact). Oh, the possibilities! Scooping the pebbles, moving them, simply feeling their texture. She spent a very long time sitting in one place, captivated by the spoon and the pebbles. Her second toy of choice was an old, small red plastic cup with a pour spout and no handle, and...the same pea gravel. The cup was small enough for her to hold in one hand, and the pebbles were placed into it, one at a time, and dumped out with an attitude of awe, then carefully filled again.
In One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, chapter 9 “Go Lower,” Ann suggests that children are so full of joy because they are small, and the world is big. Their imaginations are alive, their eyes are wide open, and they live in magical worlds. Children have no stigma connected with being small. They’ve not learned to be “cool.” They’ve not discovered that it isn’t “cool” to be in awe at anything. They’ve not learned the pride of refusing to admit something is new to them. They’ve not learned to nod knowingly and say, “Oh, yes, I’ve seen/heard that before.” Just a stone? Just a bird? Just a stream, a blade of grass, a few grains of sand? Just a story? Just a joke? Just an idea? I think not! I’ll choose to humble myself, to enter into wonder again...and again.
Children extend their hands to us and invite us back into wonder. Again I can delight in the feeling and the sound of a pebble dropping into a cup. Again I can run giggling through grass, squish my toes in mud, touch a flower petal and catch my breath with wild, surprised delight. You know something? Childhood is even more fun for me this second time around. I love entering in again. Thanks to our three year old, our lives are peppered with little talking people and stuffed animals. Everything lines up and sings, from shampoo bottles in our bathroom to garden tools in the back yard. Thank you, children, for adding even more wonder to our lives. We will continue to walk in wonder with you, and keep each other in wonder. As we all grow together--grow back down toward Wonder, let’s stay as small as we can, keep our senses open and delight in the gifts that surround us every single day!