7 years ago
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Eyes of a Child
Faith (perhaps not unlike magic) is believing in things even when common sense tells us not to. We know reindeer can't fly, we know there couldn't have been a virgin birth. But if we can go through our heart, instead of our brain where knowledge has crowded out the ability to believe in the magical, even as adults we can see the world as a child does. As I watch the seasons cycle, and the progression of plants come and go and come again in mental time lapse, how can I not believe in miracles? As I watch snowflakes drift through the air, examine ice-encased berries and branches and icicle droplets on branches this cold, cold week, I am in awe of creation. I think I would "can't like" to be a botanist or a meteorologist and have too much knowledge of exactly what reality makes that all happen. I would rather just see it as wonder.
Every now and then this week I find myself thinking about Christmases past. One year, after all our presents were opened, and my sisters and I were completely satiated, my mother suddenly remembered gifts that had not shown up under the tree. She disappeared to her bedroom and returned with things long-hidden in the recesses of her closet that she had forgotten to wrap! If she felt bad about the imperfection of that, she needn't have. It is one of my most memorable Christmases. My big sister, five years older than I, as a teenager and beyond was the queen of creative wrapping. One year she put all her gifts in shoe boxes and decorated them like train cars and hooked them together under the tree. Now, as a knowledgeable and responsible adult, she puts gifts in reusable cloth bags. I know it's green--and I have used the bags, though not to regift as intended; one is in my suitcase for dirty traveling clothes and one holds my knitting needles--but I miss the creativity. Some bit of wonder is lost. And then there was the year 2-year-old Nicholas wanted an airplane. Those were the years I had more time and creativity than we had money. I don't know what exactly Nicholas had in mind, but I made him a very large, stuffed biplane with struts and propeller, and after he went to sleep on Christmas eve his dad and I hung it from the ceiling light in his room. On Christmas morning, we heard him stirring in his crib. We heard the crib rattle and squeak as he stood up. What followed was not his usual morning babble and the sound of pages of his books being turned, but a long moment of complete silence. And then, in soto voce, we heard, "It's an airplane!" The memory of that moment of his wonder, even as I write this, brings tears to my eyes. I was Santa that year. I don't think he had a clear picture of what he wanted, but I gave it to him.
Posted by Gretchen Staebler