It’s not uncommon for me to learn things from people who are younger than I am.
Even if one of those people is barely four months old.
I hung out with my niece Saturday night while my brother and sister-in-law went to their company Christmas party. After a week filled with kidney stones (which were responsible for that back pain I was having last week) and frustrations, I was excited to have a fun night of hanging out with the most adorable human alive (not an exaggeration). I got there early enough so that I could watch Olivia while Chris and Katie got ready for the party, and we sat on the couch and watched the end of some movie with Goofy in it and then a little bit of the show Paw Patrol. We also talked about life, as we usually do—she’s such a great listener. At one point, she gripped my pinky and wouldn’t let go. She just kept holding it tightly as she continued in her fascination with the colors and animations on the screen.
MY HEART MELTED.
Later that night, the sweet little one started wailing when it was roughly time for her to eat. I was trying to get her to calm down while I got the formula ready for her, so I began singing (and clearly I have the voice of an angel). At first, I sang a random song about everything that popped into my head—it included references to the cold weather and the fact that jelly beans will never taste good, no matter how hard they try to be as wonderful as gummy bears. When I ran out of material, I resorted to LeAnn Rimes’ “The Light in Your Eyes,” which I’ve mentioned holds a special place in the hearts of my sister and me. (I’m not trying to be boastful, but there were ZERO TEARS the entire time I was singing. Just saying.)
When it was time for her to go to sleep, I took her to her new throne (I think it’s actually called a co-sleeper or something along those lines), and I laid there beside her to make sure she fell asleep. But then I ended up staying there the whole time because 1) I was super tired, and 2) she has a slight cold and raspy breathing because of it, and that made me super nervous, so I wanted to make sure she kept breathing while she was asleep.
While I was lying there, I thought about how easy it is for Olivia to trust me. Whether it is holding my finger during TV time, listening to my voice as I made her formula or knowing I was right beside her as she dozed off, she believes that she is safe in my care. She made it seem so simple: When someone cares for you, you let that person care for you.
I think we could all learn a lot from babies.
I know you can argue that it’s pretty easy to have faith that everything will be alright for you when you really have no choice. But those babies eventually become little kids who still trust that their parents and teachers and coaches and other people who care about them will do just that—truly care about them.
And then we grow up.
There are a lot of not-so-great aspects about being an adult—you know, like paying taxes and bills, working lots of hours on lots of days, and having to act like a grown up when you really want to go eat snow cones and sit on a hammock, instead—but it makes me sad that many adults won’t let any childlike tendencies into their lives. I still like to climb trees and dream things that probably aren’t likely and make homemade cards with crayons and markers and use stickers as often as possible.
But, like many other grownups, I struggle with that whole trust thing sometimes, too.
It’s hard to believe that others will come through for you when you’ve been let down so many times. It’s hard to believe that you’ll see the sunshine soon when the rain is constantly pouring down. It’s hard to believe that everything will be OK when it feels like there’s no hand to grasp. It’s hard to believe that the songs you’re hearing are from the heart.
And that’s why we need that faith like a child.
Life certainly isn’t always going to be easy. There will be tears. There will be pain. There will be confusion. There will be fears and frustrations and temptations and letdowns. There will be so many things that make us want to cry like babies who have no other way of letting others know they’re in need.
But there will also be beauty.
There’s actually a lot of good in this world—sometimes it’s really obvious, and other times we have to look for it a little bit. But it’s there. I’ll admit that it’s challenging to trust God and whatever it is He’s doing in our lives all of the time. I have to believe His plan is right, though. I look at the things around me, and I see so much He’s done in so many different lives and situations—even if I do often feel like I’m gripping his finger as tightly as possible just to remember He’s there.
But I know He is, and He’s even using a precious girl who’s only been around for four months to show me that. And I want to show that love and care to the people He’s placed in my life and be thankful for those who show me the same love and kindness in return.
Because, as Olivia has taught me, when someone cares for you, you let that person care for you.