He was a ball of light–this fair-skinned boy of around four, trying to keep pace with a dog that was easily triple his size. I was struck by the pure joy that illuminated him. His hair danced in the sky, his smile covered the universe. He hopped, skipped, ran, and took a slight uphill climb with such ease, like he would never ever have a breath to catch. He moved as if he had never fallen. He knew the wind would carry him safely home. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. This is what it is to trust in the world, to be full of awe and wonder, to have never known heartbreak, sadness or loss. I wanted to wrap that up and send it to every human being on this planet.
“Can I ever have that again ?” a friend asks after I tell the story. I give her the news she already knows–that brand of carefree abandon comes from being with the angels still, our consciousness in deep slumber. At this point in our adult life, who hasn’t known fear, anger, melancholy, trauma? Awe and wonder can only be ours if we find our way to it, not as before, but from a space of knowing pain, but also knowing how precious joy is when it is upon us. We will never know that brand of carefree abandon again, but we will have deep appreciation and gratitude when it visits.
I want to follow this boy through time, be there during his first failure or disappointment, that moment when he feels he isn’t loved or good enough–the moment when he experiences the harsh pavement on his skin. I want to be able to remind him of how certain he was that life and love would support and surround him, no matter what. I will tell him how he floated above ground, his smile radiating like sunbeams. And I will tell him that he is all that still, no matter what. But I won’t be there and he won’t remember, the way we have all forgotten.
So I will write this now and hope to somehow inscribe it into the ether. He will not remember, but through him, I have. In him I was given a rare glimpse of pure divinity. Watching him awakened a heartfelt memory: a recognition of what we all began with. I am certain it’s the place in us where hope is constantly born.
As I sit alone on my desk, hearing the rain outside, feeling the special darkness and silence of this season, I know this little child of pure happiness is in me, too, whatever else comes or goes in my life. For a moment, my heart sprouts wings.