I learned this recently as my husband and I took care of our two-year-old granddaughter for ten days while her parents vacationed in Hawaii. Never once did we think that we weren't getting the best end of that deal. She was a joy to be with. We began seeing the world through her eyes. We began looking for moo-moo cows in the fields along the road. We began to simplify, slow our pace, and practice making animal noises.
In other words, we rediscovered the joy of living.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
These words may be the most oft-quoted part of the poem, Ode, Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood, and they are powerful, but there is another passage that resonates with me just as strongly.
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
How easily we lose sight of the wonder in simple things. How hardened and pessimistic and distracted we become as we strive to eat our bread by the sweat of our brow. Life isn't meant to be a cakewalk; we are here to work, and yet I can't believe that a loving Heavenly Father doesn't intend for us to look upon His creations with the freshness they deserve. How quickly we lose the wonder, the joy, the gratitude.
Thank you, my sweet Evelyn, for teaching your grandma. Thank you for the light in your eyes and your reverence for sacred things. That wasn't taught to you by the inhabitants of mortality. It was taught to you by angels.
Thank you for being our little angel.