When my grandchildren walk through the door, they surround me on all sides. I am immediately thrust into their circle of unconditional love: hugs, kisses, more hugs. They tell me they love me at least fifty times before they leave. They shower me with crayon masterpieces; tokens of their sentiments to keep me company long after they've gone. They want me to know that I'm special to them and they go to great lengths to make sure I know who I am in their eyes.
Wouldn't it be great if big people could be so uncomplicated? And, if we could hold onto that exuberant passion for a lifetime I wonder what would change?
The world is a tough place and we take it far too seriously. Before we know it, our chance to experience the wonders of life with childish exuberance has slipped through our hands, as we make the trade off for more 'important things'.
Last week I met two people who still had the courage to live exuberantly. I knew it right awaybecause in a moment of distress, ten neighbors had immediately crowded around to help them. They were an elderly couple, returning home from the Cancer Center, where she had just completed a round of chemo. She collapsed on the steps, outside her apartment, unable to get up. There she sat, in the miserable twenty degree weather on the concrete steps, smiling through her pain. They had only lived here six months, but in that short time, they had forged strong friendships.
I watched as those friendships closed in around herwhen they decided not to move her until an ambulance arrived, they ran for blankets and formed a huddle to keep her warm. I met her for the first time, as I joined the huddle. She died yesterday afternoon. Her husband wept for a brief moment as he sat in my office this morning making plans to return home to Mississippi. Even in his grief, he was careful to pat me on the back, give me hug as he left my office, and leave me wishing I had known them longer.
How do we live so exuberantly that our life affects others, even if our paths only fleetingly cross? I think we start by examining our trade offs. If we spend too much on the wrong investments, we wind up feeling drained by life. Ask any child how they feel as they give a crayon masterpiece away, or run to hug a grandparent. Kids know how to invest wisely.
The dear gentleman who had just lost his wife, was investing wiselyin the midst of one of the most difficult journeys we ever take in lifehe took time out to give a little of himself away; a hug, a smile, a pat on the back. In return, he evoked my compassion and reaped the prayers of a virtual stranger. That's a rich man. He was just doing what came naturally for him; he was using our one fleeting moment together to allow an outsider into his huddle.
What would happen if we began showering the people around us with crayon masterpieces; little actions of love that they'll hang onto, even if our paths just cross for a moment. I wonder what would happen if we stepped away from our fruitless pursuits and exchanged them for meaningful investments; building relationshipsinviting the strangers we meet into a warm huddle of exuberant and unconditional love.
Let's make a pact, you and I. This week, let's live with childish exuberance, even if we don't feel like it. Let's watch the children around us more closely and relearn what it's like to love with abandon. Let's intentionally toss our fruitless pursuits to the wind and recklessly pursue the people around us. This week, let's create opportunities to leave a little of ourselves behind in everyone we cross paths with.
1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. KJV
Birdie Courtright is a freelance writer and real estate professional who enjoys sharing her faith with others through personal glimpses of God at work in her own life.