Newness of Life

November 18, 2008 | By | Add a Comment

For the past few years I’ve frequently found myself getting bored with life. I’m getting bored with sports and routines and brushing my teeth and tying my shoelaces. I’m bored with facebook, the Internet, sending resumes to strangers and I’m even tired of watching old Journey music videos on youtube. It seems like when you get older nothing much exciting happens anymore and the only exciting things that happen are bad exciting – like your hair turning gray or falling out and not being able to touch your shins anymore. There is so much more responsibility and so little time for play.

I’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time with my 15 month old niece lately as I search for a job in my new place of residence. I’ve been thinking about how exciting life must be for her. She is learning new words and starting to eat better food like pickles, cookies and ice cream. Everything is new for her and every day is a new adventure. She is taken care of and she goes to the park. She has peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gets to run around the house in her underwear making funny noises. She gets to sleep a lot and strangers tell her how beautiful she is. When she cries she has people to comfort her and everyone is always trying to get her to flash that beautiful smile. Most of the time, though, she flashes that smile without being prompted. She does this because she is happy.

I find myself staring at her. What is great about staring at her is that, unlike other beautiful girls, I don’t have to worry about her seeing me. As a matter of fact, she is often staring at me back. We are both staring at each other. I am thinking, “what is going on in her brain?” She is thinking, “why is he so big?” I am thinking, “cookies and ice cream”. She is thinking, “cookies and ice cream”.

As we are attempting to figure out what on earth is going on, it dawns on me that this is new for myself as well. I mean, life is not new to me, but seeing new life is new to me. As we get lost in each other’s eyes and speak to each other in a foreign language that neither of us know but we both understand, I’m thinking to myself, “I love this little girl”.

Suddenly, I’ve skipped past the winter of my life and it is springtime. A flower is in bloom on a hillside and a big tree provides shade for a youngster looking for a place to hide. Maybe that is why people start having kids at my age. You realize that big muscles, fast cars and loud music can only take you so far in life and that it is only when you give yourself away that what you’re missing is paradoxically found.

Now, it is like the time when I won a scratch ticket after the March Madness tournament one year. After winning $4 on that ticket, I went from being oblivious to the lottery to noticing every convenience store, vending machine and supermarket that sells those tickets across the globe. This time, though, I’m noticing Mini-Vans and playgrounds and specials on diapers. I’m looking out for playground bullies and making sure she doesn’t bump her head. I’m getting away from my self and finding new life. Maybe responsibility isn’t so bad and each day can still be an adventure.

Thank you God for my little niece.

There is always plenty of life at a playground

There is always plenty of life at a playground

 

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