Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Way to Experience Things

I love this picture.  I love it for so many reasons, but the biggest reason is right there plastered on the face of my two year old.  You have to look hard, as it's definitely an action shot, but look at that grin!  Look at the excitement!  Look at the enjoyment!  And you know, his face captured the essence of my own heart at that baseball game.  Sure, I love baseball games, I always have, but there's something about experiencing a baseball game through the eyes of my son that makes the joy grow exponentially.  He's teaching me so much about how to enjoy life.  He's teaching me so much about what a treat the treats are and how extraordinary the ordinary can be.  Things, that were to me once so simple, bring such excitement to his little 2 year old face.
  • Crayons
  • Mickey
  • Rocks
  • Bubbles
  • The moon
  • Stars
  • Birds
The simple made exciting.  Isn't it great?  It's much easier to experience life when you are looking through the lens and enjoyment of a child.

I'll never understand the parents that want to live vicariously through their children to accomplish the dreams that they never accomplished, but I must definitely admit that I live vicariously through my son when I see the enjoyment on his face doing any activity.  The excitement is contagious, and to see the world the way your children do make life all the more worth living.

And I got to thinking about this as we were walking into the Cardinal game the other day.  We had listened to Bryton, for two hours in the car, ask over and over, "Byton go the baseball gaaaaaaame?"  (If you know my son, you know why all of the a's exist in the word game.  He draws out all of the last words in his sentences.)  And the excitement was all overflowing when we got him out of the car and started walking the few blocks to the stadium. 

Anyone who has been to any event in a downtown venue knows all of the interesting encounters one can have to and from their destination.  At Cardinal games you have people looking for tickets, people selling tickets, people selling food (that's cheaper than stadium food), people playing instruments and people holding signs asking for money. 

Those of you who know us know our hearts about these people.  We feel that unless we are in the same position as they are, that God has given us the responsibility of doing what we can for them... regardless of what they do with that help.  So when we feel like God leads us, we give.  And I watched as Bryton walked by these people with a big ole smile on his face, and he looked at them just like they were anyone else, and I got to thinking:  I bet that was as big of a gift to them as any dollar put in their can, to be looked at as if you are no different than anyone else, when I'm sure many adults pass them and look at them with disgust, disappointment, or even as Aaron and I do at times, with sympathy.  Bryton didn't feel sorry for them, he wasn't disgusted with them, he smiled at them as he walked by.  They are just like him, in his eyes. 

We talked after the game and decided that from this day forward we'll put aside some $1 bills before every event where we know we may encounter situations such as these, and we'll allow our children to be the blessing to others... giving them the money and allowing them to put the money in the can of those in need.  I pray that the spirit of giving is instilled in them at a young age, and I'm willing to sacrifice to see that happen. 

The very next day we decided to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful weather.  We packed the kids up, went to Subway to grab sandwiches, and took Bryton to play in the fairgrounds after we had a picnic. 

Those of you who live around here know that if the fairgrounds is in need of any type of work done, a lot of times they use the convicts that reside in the boot camp.  This day was no different, and there were several convicts out and about mowing, weeding, raking, and working on other clean up efforts.  I saw one guard out supervising. 

I'll be honest, I've never been nervous in situations where they are around, but I've always been aware of their presence.  Afterall, I don't know what they've done to land them where they are. 

Our afternoon went beautifully... Bryton was good and ate well... Ansley was good.  We walked a good deal of the fairgrounds allowing me to get my work out in for the day, and right as we were considering leaving we decided to walk the front lap around the fairground entrance.  On the home stretch we came, once again, upon all of the convicts working.  Now, Bryton is intrigued with being outside and any activity that warrants being outside, especially mowing, and so, as we rounded the last corner we came upon a black man, in his 'uniform', pushing a lawn mower, and Bryton stopped to watch.  I won't lie, it made me a little on edge, as the man was very aware that my son had stopped, turned to face him, and was staring at him mowing.  He didn't smile, he didn't acknowledge us, except to stare back.  Before I could say anything, (I mean, what would I say anyway?) Bryton got this huge grin on his face and did the cutest two year old wave I'd ever seen in my life, and it was almost instantaneously that glistening white teeth began to show through that black man's sweaty face, and he stopped pushing that lawn mower and gave the cutest middle aged man wave that I've ever seen in my life. 

For all I know, that little gesture from Bryton could have made all of the difference in that man's life that day.  He knew Bryton looked at him as if he were a normal person, not a criminal.

We passed two more men weeding who were a much closer proximity to us, and Aaron and I made sure to say hello, ask how they were doing, and Bryton gave his biggest grin again and said 'hewwo!' 

And God was making an amazing point to me.  Seeing the world through the eyes of my two year old made life much more enjoyable... for me and for others.  He looks at others with no sense of judgment, no hew of status.  He worries less and enjoys more.  He can be in the moment more than we ever can.  He notices those that we tend to ignore, and all of this brought me to this conclusion:  it would benefit me greatly if I were able to see the world through not only the eyes of my two year old, but also through the eyes of Christ, and Bryton seemed to have an innocent and more accurate idea of what that looks like than I do at the moment. 

I pray that God gives me His eyes to see people as human beings who have a purpose and were created in His image.  I pray that God gives us the wisdom to not only notice, but to react to people in such a way that it is honoring to Him, and I'm convinced that just walking by and ignoring is not necessarily honoring to Him.  Sometimes doing nothing is as bad as doing the wrong thing.  I pray that God will give us the wisdom and discernment in these situations, as to not tarnish the innocence of the heart of my 2 year old, who seems to, at this point in life, be able to look at people despite their clothing, status, or current conditions, as if they are human beings in whom to speak and show love, just like anyone else.

God keeps teaching me more and more and more through my children, and I realize that as God has given us the responsibility to grow and raise them in the Lord, that He uses the very ones we are supposed to be raising to grow us in the wisdom in which to do so.  How amazing is that?

Until next time, love others...

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