|21 May 2004 @ 14:36, by sharie|
I remember a time when I was four years old, standing in my parents' bedroom and being acutely aware of their unhappiness with one another. This had been an on-going misery, but on this particular day it struck me that this would be commonplace, and simultaneously I was crystal clear that I could not count on them to teach me about life. "Adults don't know what they're doing," I thought. They seemed so mis-guided.
The underlying sense was that their unhappiness with their life was because they were either choosing to be miserable or they were stuck and didn't seem to know how to live a happy life.
My general disposition had always been calm and content, and by stark contrast was this pervasive agony that the two of them managed to manifest.
So I made the decision then and there, at that ripe old age of four years old, that I would just figure out for myself how to live in this world... and so I did.
Several months later, our family moved to a new home out in the country, surrounded by trees and valleys. There was a moment there when I suddenly became aware of standing in our house, and feeling inundated by the tension in the air, a tension so thick it was beginning to penetrate my being. I immediately judged that tension to be "unreal". I would not acknowledge their human misery as anything "real".
I walked outside to the green waving grass and the green trees blowing in the wind and the beautiful blue sky, and I felt the power of life permeating me, and I thought, "This is Real!"
As I embraced this magnificent life force of Nature, the physical realm faded from view and I saw the brilliant light of the spirit of life, the eternal presence of the immortal intelligence, so beautiful and true that I immediately knew the physical world was merely an illusion that fades with time.
Beyond the illusion of time, space, energy, and motion is the eternal reality of the spirit of life. And this spirit communicated to me in the language of light, making its promise of radiant opulent abundance that would always be mine if only I kept faith in the light of truth.
I knew this light to be the God of all life, and I knew my God as my friend, the Creator of all that exists. It was a beautiful God. I looked to my God as my guide throughout my life, and since my parents were rarely present in my life, I looked to the spirit of life for my happiness and peace.
There exists a home movie of my family, my aunts, uncles, and cousins all walking along together, somewhat droning along, and here comes little Sharie, skipping through the crowd with such exuberance that to this day I can't help but burst out laughing just thinking about it.
I was a happy kid. I taught myself to swim, I taught myself to ride a bike, I taught myself to play the organ, I was an accomplished flutist in the band, was driven to do acrobatics of all kinds, and became known for my flexibility - splits all three ways, backbends, walk-overs, and hand-springs, I became the chess champion of my school, won an award for demonstrating an exhaustingly impressive memory, I won a ribbon for track, and I won the art award. This was the extent of my accomplishments by age eleven, with little adult supervision.
I've always remembered the intelligence and insight I had at four years old, and have acknowledged all children to be inherently brilliant.
As an adult, I worked with children for seven years. From babies to teenagers, and even college kids, I enjoyed their intelligence and humor, their keen observations and their many questions.
When my twin daughters were two years old, I was taking them for a walk one day when a woman passed asking, "How do you do it!"
"I treat them like intelligent beings... and they act accordingly," I answered with a snappy happy melody.
As I walked on, I thought of what I'd just said. I knew that's why my daughters were almost always happy. They never ever threw a fit, and very, very rarely cried.
They loved people and people loved them. They were always friendly and out-going, and very engaging to be with, and such great company.
I remember a time when they were just toddlers and we were out at the playground, and we could hear another toddler crying. And my daughter said, "Ahhh..." with such a tone of compassion that I was in awe of her awareness and empathy. She was only about 15 months old at the time.
I'd learned about a child's conscience from Little Lisa, a precious toddler I'd known years before I had children of my own. Lisa's conscience was so highly developed, her behavior so alarmingly bright that I remembered becoming aware that we must never violate a child's conscience, never violate the integrity of a child's presence of being.
Children are a precious gift. Please take care that you always respect them.