I remember the first time my daughter tasted an orange. She was the most adventurous out of all my children when it came to trying new foods as a baby, and she was meticulous about absorbing the sensations each new food provided. It was one of the tiny mandarins that come in a netted bag from the grocery store, and I remember the sweet smell filling the air as I peeled it in front of her. I could see her eyes focused intently on the fruit, her tiny body beginning to do that little bounce of excitement, the universal sign for “Hurry up, Mama!”
I pulled the portions apart, tore through the membrane of one, and placed it in her mouth. Her jaws smushed it together. A dribble of juice flowed down her chin, and she swirled the fruit around in a pale imitation of a chewing motion. The look on her face went from concentration to wonder, and I smiled from the inside out.
What an experience that must be, the first taste of an orange! What heavenly things our Lord has given us to enjoy. There was a time that I first tasted an orange too, I am sure, but that memory has long been lost to the oblivion of childhood. What a gift to be able to live it again with my daughter.
These moments are the bread and butter of my days. Sure, it is not all the ecstasy of new experiences. There are plenty of trying times and moments where I feel bored and wasted, but the joy of leaving the fast pace of the outside world behind and learning to live again as a child does, in a slower tempo and paying attention to and appreciating each small detail … that has been the gift of life!
Seeing the world through the eyes of one who is only beginning to explore all that it is and who is surprised by the fact that the wind blows at random, that the sun comes up every morning and makes the most beautiful colors in the sky when it goes down at night, that bubbles stay suspended in the air for an unexpected amount of time, fills me with the gratitude that we all lose when we leave our own childhood behind.
Thank you, Lord, for the little slices of heaven you let shine though. And thank you for children, who help us to see it all again.