While packing up for Great Wolf Lodge last week, I mentioned out loud "Declan is going to have so much fun at the water park, but he doesn't realize he will be in the car for 5 hours!" My Dad replied, "You could lead that boy to slaughter, and he would happily go along." A gruesome image, but so accurate of a toddler's mindset.
Declan has just turned two, and though he probably understands more than he can communicate, he truly doesn't know our future plans. He gets in the car, not knowing if we are just headed to the kid's school, or the grocery store, or Mass, or on a family vacation five hours away.
He was an angel in the car, in case you were wondering, only slightly annoying with his demands for "elmo music". When we got to the hotel, he wandered in with the kids, probably not understanding that this was where he would be sleeping that night, and happily followed them, bathing suit-clad, down the elevator to the water park. He splashed and played for hours before we scooped him up and went out to dinner.
The whole time, I kept experiencing the trip from his viewpoint. Thinking about how strange it would be to wake up one morning, be thrown in the car for a long ride, get to a water park and be allowed to play like crazy, get taken out for chicken nuggets and fries and then brought back to sleep in some random room. But he was so happy, because he was with his family. He trusts us and doesn't worry about getting his needs met, he knows we are in control of making that happen. He's never lacked for any need, never felt unloved, never worried about what the future holds. He just lives in the moment. For whatever reason, his unbridled joy and trust were just really visible and remarkable to me.
I was unloading my thoughts unto Phil about all of this on our drive home, and Phil just looked at me and said "And that's why God wants us to be like little children."
Of course! God is the parent, and we are his children, He's got the trip of our lives all planned out, and we are just supposed to trust that everything that happens will be used for good and for our ultimate salvation. We need to live every day, happy to be alive, happy to be part of God's family, happy to trust in his wisdom. Each day is a gift (the "present") and regretting the past or worrying about the future is pointless. Little kids just do this naturally, why does it have to get all confusing and tangled up as we grow older? Declan gave me a wonderful reminder on how to live, and I'm once again humbled to receive a lesson from my children.