There are two groups of people whom I love to spend time with – the young children and the older and mature people because they both have something in common – the love for simple life witout any trappings. The young children have an intuitive love for life, a simple yet profound love for the fact and the act of ‘being’. They are the ones that ‘simply’ enjoy the fact that they are alive and kicking. Whereas, the grand old ones have the rich experience of the love of life, an existential proof of fact of ‘being’ being an act of love.
The other thing that the young ones and the older ones have in common is that they both live in a timeless world, they are un-pressured by the trivialities of the act of being. I was lead to think about all of this because of a memorable experience I had last Saturday with a very affectionate family from SJD small group study and their three kids a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a 3 month old little one.
Last Saturday evening I had completed my discovery classes and was on my way back loitering round Rive oaks in the bike because I was not ready to call it a day, I wanted more out of life. I was pondering what I could do next, that was when I thought I heard someone call me from behind I looked back there was a car close behind. I was wondering who it was. When the car pulled by me, I realized that it was the family from the small group Bible study at SJD and seeing me they had called out my name. They invited me to dinner at their house close-by. I couldn’t be gladder than to spend time with a family with three cute little kids, and all of them so welcoming and affectionate.
I could see how the children, were so excited just by the fact of being. 2 year old, was so glad to just see me, it did not matter to her if I was her friend or not. It did not matter to her that I was a bloke that had a tough time relating to kids in an existential sense. It did not matter to her that I was really not sure how I had to sweet-talk to a kids. All that mattered to her was that I was a ‘being’ that was there and I was ‘looking’ at her. She would go and hang from the edge of the table and look at me with a big beautiful eyes to see if I was watching her aerobic exploits.
Then she would think how else to engage me, because I was her guest and she was the host. The parents were making dinner and we were all at the kitchen were we all were. 2 year old would be the busiest person there walking around the kitchen wondering how to engage me. Then she called me over to the couch and there she took out a coloring book and started coloring the pictures – like an artist performing for an audience. I was so surprised that a 2 year old could be so cognizant of how to relate with people so well. I guess it is a part of the unblemished image of God in human beings. She was just keeping me occupied and happy.
Then came my turn to reciprocate, my turn to play the only trick I know to make kids happy which is to lift them high up over my head and give them a supported free fall with a few variations. Kids love it. It is my trick to compensate for my inability to sweet-talk to kids. Kids like me to do that again and again and because my arms are strong I don’t tire easily. I love two things about it. One, how the kids laugh with a sparkle in they eyes. Two, how they come back for more – when they want more they would shyly walk up to me and lift up their hands as though reaching out for another candy.
It astounds me that such a simple ‘act of being’ as lifting up a kid could make them so excited to want more and more of it. It is their innocence and the sense of wonderment of being that makes them enjoy something so simple. As people grow up they loose that sense of wonderment for the simple things of life.
What was so beautiful about this event is that in lifting up 2 year old again and again, I was enjoying it as much as she herself was. In a way the experience had made a kid out of me. It made me enjoy all the simple nuance of life.
2 year old was taken to sleep. The five year old came down wearing a feathered Indian band she had made in her school. Being a five year old, her way of relating was pretty different from her 2 year old sister. She was more vocal. She was visibly self conscious and shy. She started talking about her school and what happened there. She was an entertaining story teller. It was so apparent that she loved to talk. I loved listening to how a kid would script her story how she builds the nuances into it. By now, it was getting late and it was time for her to go to bed.
But of course, kids live in a timeless world. They are never pressured by what they needed to do next. She really did not was to go to bed and was lingering as much as she could in the hall and then finally bid goodnight and went off to sleep.
The 3 month old was such a cheerful kid. I guess it was because of the way the parents involved him in conversations. We would talk about Ten Commandments or Benhur and during our discourse, the mom or the dad would look at the little one ‘so, you would love to see Benhur, wouldn’t you?’. It was as though little one was always a part of all conversations. I think they set a very good example in parenting because I have seen parents often shut their kids off adult conversations. Of course, little 3 month old kid even smiled at me. But I really couldn’t figure out the reason for the smile. Perhaps it was just that I was a different looking being in there and it seemed funny.
Kids make a kid of me. That I am sitting here at 3:00 am ‘charged-up’ and typing this off, well aware that I need to wake up at 7:00 am to go to gym and then to office is proof enough that I have entered into the timeless world as theirs.
What I love about the kids and the old people is their zest for life. I see it in their eyes – the love for life.