About a month ago I wrote about my response to saying the words “I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” during Evening Prayer, and I ended by promising myself that I would open my eyes to goodness. I want to come back to this from time to time, to share the goodness that I have seen. It would be a beautiful thing if you would share the goodness you have seen too, so please do comment on these posts.
I can’t think about the goodness of the Lord without thinking about my son. Not only is he a most excellent creation and so a supreme example of that goodness (I do concede to some bias on that point!) but he has also opened my eyes to goodness I had forgotten.
Two weeks ago I confessed that I’m not really at one with nature. About an hour after posting that blog, I took the little one for a walk to the park, and the look of pure joy on his face when he saw me kick up the autumn leaves made me think I’m missing out. I used to love seeing the trees change colour, but these days I’m normally too busy to notice. I need a toddler who has only just discovered the crunch of fallen leaves under his feet to make me pay attention.
A couple of days after that we went into town, and he stopped in the middle of the street to dance to an oompah band. Some days I would love to do a little jig or turn a cartwheel, but my sensible grownup head won’t allow it. People mind less if you’re dancing with a small child though, so I have rediscovered the joy of acting like a fool in public.
In some ways it’s easy for him. He doesn’t have an endless to do list scrolling though his head. He doesn’t have to think about how what is in the fridge. And he doesn’t know that five hundred people were killed by a bomb in Mogadishu three days ago. But surely those tasks and stresses and disasters make it all the more important that we do seek out goodness, so that we can retain some balance and hold onto some hope.
I want to learn to be more aware of joy and beauty for me, but I also want to do it for my son. At some point he will start to become aware of all the worry and sadness of the world, and I want to be able to teach him to still take pleasure in autumn leaves and oompah bands.