You know those moments when your kiddo says something out loud about a person they see and it’s the kind of comment that makes you want to curl up into a little ball of embarrassment? I actually don’t think you have to be a parent to have experienced this, just walk around a grocery store and if there is a young child around, I can almost guarantee they will make some observation about another person they see. Just the other week, when we were at the chiropractor, our chiropractor is pregnant by the way, and when she walked around the corner to see Romney Ann and say good morning, the first thing out of RA’s mouth was, “your belly is really big!”
But it’s a very real reality, children say what’s on their mind. Children ask questions without any inhibition. Whenever these moments have happened to me, I try my best to take a deep breath, affirm the observation that Romney Ann makes, and then maybe talk with her about it. There’s no quieting her down, but rather engaging with her and wanting to hear more.
Well, it was probably a year ago now, but Romney Ann and I were walking out of Zesto’s in Chapin. Sometimes after school, she and I will go for a little treat and get a chocolate dipped cone. It’s such a sweet time to have with her.
Anyway, on this particular day, we were walking out when a man was also trying to walk in. This was an African American man, maybe in his mid 20s. He held the door for us as we walked out. And in a very clear, and what seemed like loud yell (though in reality it may not have been that loud), Romney Ann exclaimed with great joy, “Mommy, him look like my D!”
I could have died. This man doesn’t know who D is. He doesn’t know what this little white girl is saying. Looking back, he honestly may not have even heard what she said, because he just went right on into the restaurant. I took a deep breath and tried to remember my commitment to not quieting her down but rather engaging and affirming her.
“Yes, Romney Ann, that man did resemble your D.”
On the ride home, I thought a lot about what she said and how she said it. The joy and love she shared her observation with was really so beautiful. She didn’t know anything about that man. All she knew was that he looked like someone she loved so he must be good.
I have been thinking a lot about this moment these past 24 hours. It’s a moment I so vividly remember, like it was yesterday, that reminds me of the beauty and innocence of the way children see the world. Their seemingly simple joy in the little things. Their innocent curiosity. Their ability to love without apprehension. Children are such a gift. I often hear people talk about children being our future, but they are so much more than that, they are our now. Children teach us how to love and live without the barriers today.
What if we lived a little more like children? What if we loved a little more like children? What if we saw those we loved in every person we met or passed on the street? Him look like my D! Her look like my RA! They look like my Jesus!
There will never be words adequate enough to articulate the deep pain, frustration, sadness, anger, disgust, and so much more I feel as a mother and citizen of this country at yet another senseless shooting. I have shared with a few people today that I know, as a person of faith, I believe the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it, but I have felt recently like I can’t see the light. The dark is just too much. But recalling this story of RA and the way she sees the world is my bright spot for today, and maybe it can be one for you too. Look at those around you, stranger and friend, can you see Christ in those people? Say with joy and excitement, you look like my Jesus! Children are some of our best teachers when it comes to living and loving this world, and we are killing them. So many tears shed today, so many deep breaths taken, so many questions, so many doubts, so much darkness. But my light today? Him look like my D! You look like my Jesus!