To love the child in oneself - what a challenge! I think it is the most difficult task we can set for ourselves. It is fairly easy to be adult, to hold back the heart's cry especially at high noon, in the middle of the lunch hour crowds, and then, later, at the six o'clock bus stop.
It is fairly routine to work at a job, pay one's bills, eat the proper foods. It is fairly predictable, this disease of acting one's age. It is marked by an outbreak of self-control which erupts at a time when one wants to totally break out of the bounds of one's physical limitations, to soar, as it were, on the wings of the soul's pleasures, to dream, oh, to dream!
In childhood we believe all things are possible. Men and women will dance on the moon. The deaf will hear. The blind will see. The hungry will be fed. The downtrodden will be uplifted. The sad will burst out laughing, clapping their hands with joy. Why do so many of us know these things at six and forget them at forty-six? Because in childhood we believe in ourselves. Going by instinct we make possible the impossible. Imagination gets us from the limitations of the physical world into the limitless universe of the spirit.
''Hey, Mom, I flew over the ocean today.''
''Hey, Mom, I had lunch with Mr. Toad and he said it was going to rain tonight.''
''Hey, Mom, I saw a ghost in the backyard this morning but don't worry, I scared it away.''
But the adult self seems jealous of the child, determined to correct its unbounded nature. The adult self insists that instinct is less reliable than reason. The adult's feelings, before the child's, are to be respected, are to take precedence. Propriety, like a harness, is slipped over the muscles.
''Don't slurp your soup.''
''Don't chew with your mouth open.''
''Don't put all your eggs in one basket.''
''Don't call me, I'll call you!''
This desert limbo of dust and more dust, where the soul's pleasures were not only to be denied, but worse, were to be held in suspicion, bored me.
To let the child in oneself free, to untangle the sunset colored wings of the monarch butterfly from the brambles, to express the simple joys, not just at ten , but at one hundred and ten, that would be a very real healing for the tired planet, I think.
Did you, too, watch the tiny parade of ants marching across the sidewalk cracks of childhood, lugging crumbs, as large as logs, to them on their licorice backs? And weren't you enchanted with their grace? I was! And, for eternal hours in timeless days, the delight of a bright blue stand of delphiniums would seize my heart with questions.
''Oh, dear Father, how did you get that color so precisely the shade of grandmother's Shirley Temple glasses?''
Children, I think, never doubt the wonder of the universe, inner as well as outer; never expect that scientific technology or evolution, for that matter, could have brought forth either one. Ask any child how the stars hang in the heavens, or how the bumblebee can buzz as well as fly. The answers will come spontaneously from the soul, without interference from the brain. The answers will imply magic, mystery, a secret power. To love the child in one's self allows for that secret power to emerge.
holds the stars in place
will also hold the child
adult and wise,
keep The Mystery