Riding my motorcycle on a quick round trip to the local shops yesterday, I witnessed what seems like the very best of our world on the journey out.
And the very worst on the journey back.
I live in a narrow valley, surrounded by mountains. From my home, a view of the panorama of the heavens is pretty much limited to straight up. So it is always difficult to know what the weather conditions are really like until getting out of “my” valley. Many are the occasions when I have discovered myself to be wrongly clothed for the conditions “out there”.
On turning east out of my road yesterday, I was greeted by the sight of a truly spectacular, beautiful, mesmerising (to me) lenticular cloud formation floating over the coast. In all my years, I have never seen quite its like before. If only I’d had a camera. The sight of this cloud formation filled me with a profound sense of awe and wonder. And inner peace.
On the return journey, I noticed two children in school uniform walking on the footpath. A girl, age perhaps 11-13 years, followed by an adorable little boy — presumably her little brother — age about 5 years. As I rode up beside them, I saw the older girl turn abruptly back towards the little boy. Arms rigid by her sides, she leaned forward and down towards the little fellow, in an aggressive, threatening manner, and spat some words at him. Words that I could neither hear nor lip read, thanks to the sound and speed of my motorcycle.
What happened in the next instant sent a sharp dart of pain into the core of my being.
That beautiful little boy cowered.
Like a frightened, oft-abused puppy.
I will share something deeply personal with you, dear reader.
I love children.
And yet … alas … my fate, it seems, is that I will likely not ever have any of my own.
I have many friends with children. I have spent countless hours nursing, playing with, and most valuable of all, observing them as they grow.
It is from observing children — and from many more hours sitting still and silent in nature, simply watching, and listening — that I can wholeheartedly endorse the Truth of these words, attributed to Jesus of the Bible:
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn (around) and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3)
Over the millennia, many persons far wiser than I have written many far finer words about the virtues of having a child-like outlook, and disposition, than I could ever hope to conceive.
For the moment, the best I can think to say this.
To frighten a small child out of his living in the heavenly moment of the Present — his natural state of existence — is, I think, in most cases likely a crime against Heaven itself.
The small child lives in a state of time-less-ness — “heaven”, to many — because he lives purely, wholly, and simply in every moment.
There is no past. There is no future. There is only Now.
To jar a little child out of that heavenly state, seems to require an act of violence.
From someone else.
Usually, an “adult”.
As time ticks on, small children continue to be jolted out of Heaven. By the thoughtlessness, and selfishness, of others.
They are introduced — by us — to a new state of experience.
Fear causes the little child, for the first time, to begin to dwell — at least at times — outside of the heaven of Now.
And in the hell of “What if?”
I think that if we adults would all take far, far greater care, to guard ALL the little children of the world against those acts of violence that would jolt them out of heaven, and into our world of fear and “what if?”, then in constantly standing watch for them, we would begin to share in their heaven.
We too, would begin to experience — at least at times — their blessed state of Timelessness.