This weird thing’s been happening lately, in which I find myself teary anytime I see or read stories about children or the elderly (stick with me here, non-sappy, children-apathetic friends). And when I say lately, I mean for several years – and most often since I’ve been in my 20s. Over the last 24 hours, I was overwhelmed to a point that I decided to sit down and really ask why, thus the fruition of this blog.
What I came up with: Fragility. Something about the fragile state of new lives and worn ones deeply moves and inspires me. Children and elderly are different from us in the middle, us in our 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. They have a way of engaging and a sense of reality that is less affected by the world’s standards and inhibitions. Whether cradled or seasoned, they teach us something important about the base of life: it is fragile!
And not the type of fragile that makes me want to fear risks and keep my head down, or stay in my comforter cocoon and bolt lock my doors (although my mother would sleep better). Instead, the type of fragile that makes me not want to waste my days doing anything less than what God’s designed me for. The type of fragile that pushes me to want to love deeper, to dance like music was actually made to move us, to share hope-filled moments and tiny miracles (like the first crepe myrtle bloom outside my bedroom window come spring), to serve people more extravagantly, to invite more people into my home and around my table, to weather the cold for someone who may need a kind word and a pair of hand warmers, to behold and point others to beauty, to laugh at myself, to celebrate silliness and to tell more of the truth.
Just think. If we take notice and listen to the thoughts, candor, giggles and wrinkles of the children and the elderly in our lives more often, we may find they’re on to something. I’ve found that I cannot ignore their wonder and wisdom, and that I am more often than not entranced by their fragile state. In fact, this is where the tears come in; I weep not in despair or because of girly-feely-stuff (estrogen, if this were a science paper), I weep in adoration and gratefulness for the perspective they gift me. The elder and the child’s eyes behold all the things we sometimes lose sight of in the middle.
So next time you see a kindergartner do the happy dance after a satisfying snack time in front of all their peers, learn from him. Next time you pass an elderly man limping in pain by you on the sidewalk who looks up to greet you with a warm and thoughtful smile anyway, learn from him. When your niece tells you why she likes her best friend or your grandmother shares with you what she learned from being a florist for twenty years, listen.
Life is a pair of fragile wings daring us to fly. Pay attention to those who soar, then join them.