A chance reading of Melanie Jean Juneau’s lovely piece, Discovering the Fountain of Youth, lit a light within me: I don’t thank children enough. My lack of thanksgiving for children- born of me, born of others – perhaps stems from my single-minded focus on caring, nurturing and providing for them, seeing children mainly as something to work on, to work for, but precious little else.
I am too fixated on the notion that it is my duty to lead children to heaven, that it fogs my vision to see the truth: that I need them as much, too. This unfortunate amnesia of the gift that children are often obscures the greater truth that children are lights for me from Heaven, sent to lead me Home. And need their light of leading I do because I don’t always know which path it is that leads to Heaven.
In the egoistic preoccupation with life and duty, it is often forgotten that life is not always just about caring for children; it’s just as much about letting down my guard and opening the door of my heart to allow the young in my life to minister to me, to set me on the path to heaven. If I could let them through the fences I’ve put up, I reckon there’d be much I can learn from them, for children possess a power I do not have – the power to lift the veil to the living I am called to, melting away that which is superfluous and detrimental. They live joy through love, teaching me that love needn’t be draining and burdensome; that sacrifice without love parches the soul – a lesson to be learnt a thousand times over.
Let no one dispute that children are the Keepers of the Lamp of heavenly Truth. They take me away from the smug belief that the beginning and end of Wisdom lies solely with me. When the young hurt me even as I try to love and guide them, it’s a pain that bewilders because they seem to have rejected what I deem right and good. I often fail to see that heartaches wrought by children actually lead me away from the deception that the children in my life exist mainly to be shepherded and corralled into approved pastures of thought and behaviour. If anything, putting on the mantles of humility and faith can help me understand that my will for the children must never supercede God’s path for them, for His sight extends far beyond my myopic limitations.
All children are formed of joy, the gift of laughter and joy firmly tethered in the soul of children even in the rising of the squall. They embody joyful survival in the life-journey through challenges and pains.
Hence, when life sours and pickles into greys and aridity, and laughter shrouds itself, the blossoming of insight comes from the little souls who live the Truth that the balm for the weary spirit is in the casting of its burdens on the Master, and that release can be found in heaven’s wellsprings of mirth and play.
And now, as the Light of the Baby King peeks from its pearl shell of Advent, on my heart I etch a renewed prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of children brought into my life – little Keepers of the Lamp who help me lean on God to heal and love and live right, and who thus, light the path to Heaven true.