Friday, November 18, 2011

A Child-Like Innocence

When I used to play house or Barbies, I always wanted to be 19. That was always my age and I can't explain it or make sense of it, but 19 was the age for me. Nineteen was this incredible, shining beacon of adulthood that felt lightyears away, but in my bedroom with my Barbie dreamhouse, or in my grandma's upstairs with Nick and Jenna, I could be 19 and everything fabulous that came with it.
When I went through months and months of watching The Little Mermaid on repeat, I thought that if I could just break into the television, I could be "Under the Sea" with Ariel, I could be "A Part of His World" on that big boat floating on the waters' surface. If only I could find a safe, discreet way to break into the T.V.
When I would sing at the top of my lungs along to LeAnn Rimes playing on my neon yellow portable tape player, I just knew that, one day, I was going to drive to Hollywood, sing for strangers, and become rich beyond my wildest dreams. If only I could talk mom into taking me to Hollywood.
Now that I am past 19, and realized it wasn't just as glamorous as I had hoped, I have also realized that I cannot, in fact, break through a T.V. screen and meet Ariel, and I am also not LeAnn Rimes. . . so there are no impending roadtrips planned for Hollywood. But, no fear, I'm not disappointed. . . more amused than anything. Amused and incredibly amazed at the enduring spirit of children.
Every week I spend time with two 6 year olds and a 3 year old and on a daily basis I find myself delighted by the love and freedom they want to share with the world. I also get a lot of giggles hearing them play when they think no one else is listening. . .

Whenever I spend time with the kiddos I remember hearing in church that Jesus wants us to love Him with a "child-like innocence." I never got that until a couple years ago. Belle and Braden make me feel like the smartest, funniest, craziest girl in the world, because they love me just the way I am. Who wouldn't want to be loved like that?

When I was little I would go fishing with my daddy and I was positive he was the only boy I would ever love. When I was little I would play lion tamer in my living room with Jenna, Nick, and Zack and I was sure these three people would always be in my life and we would always have time to play and argue over who was going to be the lion tamer. When I was little I didn't like my brother and I knew that was never going to change.
But I'm not little any longer. My daddy turned out to be just one of the few boys I love. The lion tamer stopped being important; Jenna, Nick, Zack, and I got older and realized just how scary the world can be. And my brother? He's my first, my last, my constant. . . Who could've seen that coming?

So when you wake up tomorrow morning, before you get out of bed, try to recall a moment from your childhood. What age did you always want to be when you played house? Who did you argue with that you thought would be there until the end of your days? Why and how were you going to be famous?
 Think hard. Got it? Now, get up, get dressed, and go set the world on fire. Love like your six and you've got nothing to lose, laugh like nothing sad could ever happen to you, and LIVE. Live like this second, this minute, this hour, this day is all you've got left. Because when you're six, or seven, or eight, nothing else matters but who you play with on recess, what your snack will be when you get home from school, and who gets to hug you before the night lights go out.
Love with a child-like innocence. Laugh with a child-like innocence. Live with a child-life innocence.

Because it's never too late to be six, again.

-Stephi D.

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