This week I stood back and watched two beautiful children laugh--really laugh- and that laughter was unhindered by the world. You see, to these children a "pillow fight" still brings an incredible amount of joy and excitement. This week I had the privilage of experiencing the childlike thrill of learning to ride a "two wheeler" for the very first time. And as I watch these children, my heart breaks for them because I know that all too soon this beautiful, flawless innocence will be shattered.
Think back to the day and time in your life when that childlike innocence was first taken from you. The day that, for the first time, life was recognized and seen for its true reality. No longer simple and safe but raw, painful and unknown.
For me, the picture is crystal clear. I was five and stood hiding behind our family room door as I listened to my dad recieve news that would spin our world out of control. It was the day that my dad rode his bicycle 20 miles to meet my mom and say goodbye to my three year old sister. It was the day I sat on our neighborhood swingset and watched the helicoptor fly above us as I sang "You Are My Sunshine", to a sister I was told had hours to live.
This memory is in no way pleasurable to remember but yet it is permanently engrained into my mind. And for each child- a memory of similar weight and magnitude will eventually take away this flawless pleasure. And more will continue to do so from then on throughout life.
Very soon, these children that I love- who have been blessed to be sheltered from the realities of life so far- will experience the death of a man who they love and adore. But this death will not just be the death of a person, it will also mean the death of life as they have known it. It will mean the birth of their eyes being opened to a world plagued by war, famine, holocaust, poverty, hate, adultry, injustice, greed...
And it breaks my heart, because I know that all too soon- this man and his existence and this purity will be mere memories. And I hurt for them because I desire more than anything, for the laughter of pillowfights and the joy of learning to ride a bike to remain.
... for this beautiful innocence to remain untouched for just a while longer.