Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I was reading the book one evening, "Simplicity Parenting", by Kim John Payne, and Lisa M. Ross, and Dylan came over. "What are you reading?", he asked. "Can I see it?" When he looked at the picture, he asked, "What are they doing?" I countered, "What do YOU think they are doing?" "They're going to go swimming!", he answered excitedly. "Well, maybe. Or maybe, they're just sitting there talking, or maybe they are just listening", I told him. "Listening to what?", he asked. "Well, what might they hear? Maybe a bird chirping, or the wind blowing through the trees?" "Or a train going WOOOO!", he shouted. I smiled, pleased that although his first instinct was to assume they needed to do something active (go swimming), he could also entertain the idea of them "just listening".
How often do we get to do that, as adults? Just listen? How often do our children get to "just listen"? To just BE in the moment? So often, we are all scurrying around like frantic little ants, rushing to get from one activity to the next. How many times in our week do we find ourselves in traffic/in line at the grocery store/ waiting at the door for our children - our heart beating, our pulse racing, our hands clenched? Wondering "Why can't they hurry up? I have somewhere I need to be!" How many times a week do we find ourselves admonishing our children to "HURRY UP!"
I find myself longing for more time to "just listen". To just be in the moment, not rushing or anticipating. I long for things to be just a little more... simple. When I passed by this book, on the shelf at a bookstore I could only be in for a few moments because I was in a hurry, the picture spoke to me. I stared at it, transfixed. I imagined the beauty of that moment, shared by a father and his son, whether they talked or not. Then I smiled, thinking of a moment I had like that, years and years ago.
A good friend of mine from college and I were working at a camp. One day, everyone was going to get together and play softball. My friend convinced me to go exploring, instead. We wandered off through the woods, talking and laughing when we suddenly came to a spot that made us both stop. There was a brook, surrounded by trees, with the sunlight flickering off the water, and a waterfall up ahead. Without saying a word to each other, we sat down on a big, flat rock, and that is where we stayed for probably around 40 minutes. Neither of us said a word, but we shared a moment there.. just listening. When we finally left, she turned to me, hugged me, and said "Thank you. I really needed that, and I needed you to be with me".
Standing there in that bookstore, I imagined what simplifying my life and my child's life would feel like. I imagined him... one day... hugging me and saying "Thank you. I really needed that". It's so simple, really. Simple.