Childlike Joy

autumn leaves Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

How immature am I?

I went up the driveway for the sole purpose of coming down through the fallen leaves, which the wind had furrowed at the edge. That crisp, crackling sound of autumn underfoot, with the few remnants of golden leaves clinging to the bare limbs overhead, always elicits within me a feeling of merriment and rhythm of mirth. I did think that I must look like a person with diminished mental capacities (my most dreaded stereotype) going out of my way like that in order to maneuver my wheelchair over the dry leaves. But, I did it anyway.

To zigzag a sidewalk just to crunch the newly fallen oak leaves; to drive through the colorful drifts on rural roads; to rake up piles of the brittle bygones and jump in…. Perhaps the ones who are immature are those that consider this childish – while it is considered simply and blessedly childlike by those who are more fully human, fully alive.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:3]

The dipping flight of brightly colored birds first lit the imagination of the child, joyfully kicking his baby legs upon his mother’s knee. How many birds did he startle into flight when he first began to run, his own pulse rising with the fluttering of their wings? The sultry scent of summer’s twilight, heavy with blossom and ripening fruit, stirred within the growing youth the sweet ache of beauty and a deep sense of longing and mourning, feelings he did not yet understand, the ebb and flow of earth. How many thick leaves did he pull from hedges to crush within his hand, the sharp pungency clearing his mind to marvel at the tender, green flesh on his muscled own? When grown, he submerged in clear running waters, traced patterns in fine soil, felt the swaying tips of grains brush his fingers as he walked, and knelt in grassy garden beneath the stars and evening trees….

The Creator is an awestruck creature; and no blade of grass, no pebble, bud, or grain of sand is left unloved.

The secret years of Christ were neither for his public ministry nor for the record of sacred books – they were for him. For his body and soul, senses, imagination, memory, and delight – for his sacrifice. For, the blood that he poured out from his Sacred Heart upon the Cross was the blood of a man who lived, who loved, who knew the exquisite beauty and childlike joy of body and soul.

How mature it is, then – the blessed privilege of a redeemed and sanctified human being – to travel the paths of earthly splendor with a heart full of heavenly delight.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

© 2014 Christina Chase

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