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Child-like faith and satisfaction

August 15, 2010

My mom always tells me that when I was I much younger girl, about 5 or 6 years old, I used to crawl into my bed every night and get comfortable under the covers with a certain routine. I would stretch, sigh, yawn, and say to her in a sleepy voice, “I feel so good.” Within minutes, I would fall asleep peacefully and wake up ready to play the next day. I only vaguely remember this.
I remember the days when I was younger and I would play with my friends, days when everything was an adventure for us. If something wasn’t right, we fixed it. If we didn’t know, we tried to learn it. If we weren’t skilled at it, we practiced. Bad things happened sometimes, but we had this understanding that things would work out in some way or another. We were always good enough for where we needed to be at the time, and we worked on certain things so we could improve and go further. The blessing of my childhood was satisfaction. I didn’t have everything. I didn’t have a happy day every day. Life itself, though, was good, because of memories of yesterdays, triumphs from our todays, and a whole list of plans for our tomorrows. We dreamed because we could. Our dreams and plans ranged from what could be done with the objects we had on hand, even if it was just some extra space we could march around in, to the most outlandish and unattainable goals a child could have. I was very interested in the moon and still love to watch its phases today. I wanted to somehow always have the moon close by, so I could see it. I also wanted to see thunder. Even if I didn’t get those dreams, though, I was satisfied.
I remember getting a little lost while I was growing up. Growing up is good and everything, don’t get me wrong. I think, however, along with growing up, I also grew “in”. I stopped caring so much about the moon, thunderstorms, and adventures. I groaned in the morning and groaned at night going to sleep. “Life is good” became less of a fact for me and more of a promise some people tried to make. I learned to fear something more heart-troubling than the dark. If lack of confidence could be stifled entirely by a night light, I would make sure every child in the world had one. I think we learn that life has things that we should and ought to do, and instead of taking all of those in stride, we panic and wonder if we’re doing things the right way. Instead of the way we used to think about practicing and learning and fixing, we try to be the best first, naturally, and without help, because we fear failure. When I was a child, I wasn’t as afraid of falling as I am now as an adult. A scrape was a scrape. When we learn to fear, failure becomes a terminal illness to us. A scrape becomes a sure sign of warning of more trouble to follow. That’s not how life was meant to be lived. That’s not what a scrape is meant to teach.
Now I’m learning about keeping that love of life. I don’t groan in the morning anymore. I’m learning about taking responsibility for fixing what is broken, learning what I don’t yet know, and doing the right thing. Life isn’t easy. I don’t have everything I could ever want or everything I deem useful or helpful. Not every day is filled with happy events. Life, however, has become life to me again. It’s no longer a reservoir for all types of duty. It’s a gift, in every way, from fun to, yes, duty. Life is good.
I think about the things that make me smile. The warmth of a homemade blanket, a friend’s smile, a hug, or understanding another person. I think about the adventure in every day and who I am becoming and all the dreams I’ve got. Dreams change. My plan, however, is to keep enjoying this life I’ve found, and learn more every day about ways I can enjoy it and help others. I might not ever see thunder, and I think I’ll have to leave the moon where it is. Contentment means I’ll be going to sleep with a smile on my face or at least faith that one will be there soon. Contentment means life is good and I am living it with everything I’ve got. “To have and to hold from this day forward, For better or worse, for richer, for poorer,in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward till death do us part…” Does that sound familiar? It’s a part of a traditional marriage vow. Reading it again, though, it sounds like how we ought to live anyway. We make things work. If they don’t work, we fix them. “Knowledge is power. If I know what I’ve got, I know what I’ve got to work with.”
Change is coming in my life. I’m starting my senior year of college with an incredible, career-related field placement in just a few weeks. I am at the diving board after learning the elementals and I am ready to take the plunge into all the great things to come. From what I’ve seen and heard, the water’s great. I am getting ready for it now. It has already begun. No turning back. It’s a beautiful thing.

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