Kids just seem to get it. We are born with the inherent knowledge that we are divine and that we are all connected. They are born with wisdom beyond their time in this sphere. They share, they comfort, they laugh without restraint, they cry unabashedly. Children are in touch with the world, their own spirit, and their feelings.
Somewhere along the way, however, it is taught out of them, beaten out, stripped away by a society that does not value these things. It is a shame, because so many of us seek to find these things that should never have been lost. I guess that that is what this MooseBoots journey is about ... rekindling that knowledge, the wisdom, the connection.
Last week, before the flu ravaged our home, Wendy and I took our weekly trip to the grocery store. Normally, the place is slow and quiet on Saturday mornings when we go, but we took a side trip to eat breakfast at a local restaurant first. It was busy when we got there, which normally sets me in a less than glowing mood (I can't imagine acting as rude as some of the people we encounter at times). This day was different ... perhaps, the moon and stars had aligned and set the proper atmosphere.
Regardless, we ventured onward. We breezed right through the produce section and onto the organic offerings. Wendy stopped to get organic cane sugar and soap. I went on to get the girls' their weekly ration (4-pack) of locally brewed soda (no preservatives, real sugar). In the short aisle, a Mom was shopping with her young girls. If I had to, I'd guess 18 months and 3 years old. The younger sat in the cart. The older wandered around her mother.
I have a way with kids. I like them. They like me. I love their honesty, their joy at little things, their glow. Perhaps, they see the same in me. Regardless, the young girls in the cart smiled a crooked smile at me. Of course, I smiles back, looking deep into the abundant happiness filling her eyes. I could not help myself ... I kept looking and smiling and waved a bit.
Her mother noticed the smile and remarked that she, the girl, really loved me. I responded that she was a cutie. It was about this time that her older sister noticed me. Now, I don't know how many of you know this, but a three year old CAN talk. She started with her name. I told her mine. To which, she responded that he favorite movie had a character that shared my name. It didn't take long for Mom to let us know that this could go on forever. We took this as a hint and said our goodbyes.
The tone had now been set. I could not refrain from smiling at people throughout the grocery store. I did note that men don't seem to like to make eye contact and so, did not get to share in the wonder. Several women (of all ages) met my gaze and smiled back shy smiles. What is wrong with our society? The same society that fills us with so much fear that it is not OK to meet someone's gaze, that it is not OK to look at anyone else, that it is not OK to talk to strangers.
Turning the corner to one of the last aisles, I noticed a woman stocking a display with cleaning products. Clearly, she did not work at the store, so I asked if she made all of her own products. She stopped, turned, and talked to us. It turns out that she does make the Gracefully Clean products in her basement. She is working on expanding the operations and she is very careful about the things she put into them. We chatted amicably for several minutes, exchanged contact information, and parted ways.
Rounding the final corner, Wendy and I started to chat up an old woman, whose husband was not at all happy with the distraction. Of course, she smiled and laughed and encouraged us to keep laughing to stay young at heart and healthy. She chatted with us for the rest of the aisle, while her husband waved her to come on.
It was obvious that there was no middle ground to speak of. Young kids and older people, in general, understand. They will meet your eyes, speak to you from their hearts, open themselves to touch your soul and allow you to touch theirs ... to connect. People in the middle do not.
This brought to mind the book "Of Spirit and The Water". In the book, the author, who is an African shaman, describes his life. During his early year, he was left with his grandfather, which was the tradition of his tribe. The very young children of the tribe were left with the elders. Not because of physical ability in the field, but because both the very young and the very old were close to the divine and could share wisdom that would benefit their community. The young were fresh and had not forgotten divinity. The old had lived life and seen much only to return to the wisdom they had forgotten in the middle years.
So next time, you see a kid smiling at you, be sure to smile back and wave. You never know how that reflection will influence the rest of your day, or your life.