Today my family and I are gong to the nearby Six Flags for the first time this year. As you may have guessed, my children are beyond excited. Watching them reminded me of a commercial for a similar amusement park in which the tag line was, “I’m too excited to sleep!” Their childlike anticipation and ebullience is delightfully infectious.
As I watched them, I found myself wondering where my own sparkle went. It’s not that I’m not enthusiastic about the trip — far from it. My experience with the frustration of standing in line, dealing with sore joints, and the remembrance of being too fat for most rides has invited a more cynical outlook. I wonder when I’m going to need my pain killers, how am I going to secure my glasses on the rides, and if I have really lost enough weight to ride comfortably. That’s a downer, isn’t it?
As I reflected on this topic last night, I wondered when I had invited such a gloomy outlook into my life. I look at all the wonderful things in my life — and there are a lot of them! — and I still have that little voice in my head that reminds me of all the times I have been betrayed, disappointed, or in overwhelming physical pain. When did I lose the joy and wonder that I see in my children? What would happen if I adopted their joie de vivre?
- I might focus on the brilliant future my family and I have ahead of us.
- I might laugh more, dance more, and sing at times that embarrass my children.
- I might more fully embrace the wildness of the Creator Spirit as it is meant to be.
Wait. What did I just say?
This childlike spirit is the Creator dancing in each of us. We were made for love, joy, and hope. I call that “dancing on the mountaintops happy” (a line from a movie of which I cannot seem to recall the title). The bad events of this world threaten to drag us down, and it’s easy to succumb to the negativity, cynicism, and pessimism. Our challenge is to find ways to shake off the despondency that can overwhelm us. As we grow older, that challenge grows exponentially more difficult.
What would it take for you to re-adopt a sense of childlike curiosity and wonder? As a gentle hint, do not look among the material things of this world for the answer. The artless, guileless, ingenuous nature that we seek can only be found in activities and behaviors that feed our soul.
What feeds your soul? I encourage you to go find it today — this very minute. Our souls thirst for goodness and love. Go. Drink deeply until you feel refreshed.