When my best friend’s baby was learning to eat we slowly introduced him to different solid foods. One day we put a few raspberries on his high chair tray. As he crammed a raspberry into his mouth with his little fingers, a smile suddenly came over his face. He gave us a huge grin as if to say, “Thanks, guys,” and then started to clap his hands. For weeks, he applauded every time he ate a raspberry or a strawberry. His ecstasy was palpable.
Children, in being new to the world, live completely in the moment. They take in their surroundings with curiosity, awe, and delight. Whenever my friend’s son saw a bird or a flower, or discovered a loved one lifting him from his crib after taking a nap, he smiled. This in turn made us smile.
I often think back on that time with my friend’s baby as I sometimes babysat for him. On those mornings, I’d arrive and we’d have breakfast. Then I’d sit on the couch and read while he sat on the floor and made new discoveries; how to grasp an object; how to roll over, how to make a sound. After about an hour of that, we’d get out the stroller and go for a walk. Then it would be time for lunch. After lunch, he’d fall asleep in my arms. When I spent time with him, my worries and struggles seemed to melt away, as he taught me how to focus on the here and now.
Those of us living in the adult world sometimes struggle with being in the moment. Often we want out of the moment and into a new one! I personally get frazzled and frustrated when I have too much to do and not enough time to pause. When this happens I long for more quiet time. Yet sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard to control my reality. I wonder if my real task is to find joy within the chaos instead of trying to manipulate life to be different. I’d like life to have a slower rhythm but more than that, I’d like to find joy from moment-to-moment. In each moment, there is an opportunity to talk to someone, to look at one’s surroundings, and to breathe. In fact, in each moment, there is an opportunity to applaud.