The other day I went to the mall. I don't normally do something like that, but I needed to get out of the house, and I needed to get errands done, so off I went. I bought my mother tea-cups to replace the one I'd broken that morning and I tried on clothes and shoes (which I didn't buy) and got myself lunch (comforting Mexican food).
The mall was remarkably quiet. It was a Thursday morning. I found the warmest place in the open seating area- where the sunlight filtered through the glass ceiling and had warmed the table and chairs (because I felt cold- inside and out) and positioned myself so I could see the play area around the carousel.
I watched as young mothers talked amongst themselves- and as their golden-haired toddlers romped through mini jungle gyms and hugged (or hit) the plastic, animal playmates which charmed the indoor playground.
As I watched the curly pony-tails bob and little-boy feet traipse over every obstacle- I thought in waves of emotion- turning one upon the next. They were so innocent. So small. And so beautiful. Do you remember when you were still young enough to be called a "little kid" and so you avoided "little kids" like the plague? And then you thought kids were kinda cute. And then you wanted one. And then- someday- I suppose you got one of your own.
They were laughing. They were peaking their heads into the shoe cubbyholes. They were smiling at strangers. They were jumping on cuddly looking bears and wrapping their arms around flannel trees. I wished I could take off my shoes. I wished I could shrink back into three-year-old size and go exploring in a plastic tunnel.
Where did life go? When were my worst problems whether my shoe was too tight or the spilling of my orange juice? When were fairy tales and baby dolls enough to make me happy? And when did they cease to content me? I suppose it was when I began holding real babies, playing with real food, met real princes, and fought real battles.
I was holding baby Timmy in church- well, that is- he's nearly one and today I thought he looked less like a baby than ever and more like a little boy. He is the chunkiest, manliest, most smiley little guy I've ever seen (with wide, big blue eyes which want to see everything in the world). I've only heard him cry once (he was tired and I was putting him to bed). It delighted my heart to have him in my arms, sweet perfection.
Why don't we stay that way? Practically perfect? When I look at other people's lives I typically wind up thinking my problems are pretty small. And they are- in the grand scale of things. But the problems of choices, circumstances, the present, and the future are only the outward signs that people compare their lives by. I see children and don't just see simplicity- I also see a clean slate. Because most of my life-problems are inside of me. And the more I learn of them the more I am disgusted by how deeply the roots of my problems go. They started years ago. Even when I was playing.
And so I am filled with a longing for the fresh and the new and the clean. It is the blessedness of being a child of God that he offers us this "newness" every morning. I want to be reborn every day.